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The report released today proposes that a radical review of Big Society thinking is needed in light of millions of people being excluded from the Big Society, whilst the charities that support disadvantages people are themselves experiencing cuts to their funding.


The Big Society Audit, released by Civil Exchange and supported by  the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and DHA points out that despite the rhetoric surrounding the Big Society, some of the most vulnerable are adversely affected by the policy. People with disabilities will experience 29% of the cuts, whilst 500,000 people in the UK are now dependent on food aid.


The report highlights stark differences between communities with regard to how they have been affected by the Big Society. The Big Society is at its healthiest in affluent and rural communities. Those living in the most deprived 10 per cent of the country were less likely (52%) to  agree that people pulled together to improve things than those in the least deprived 10 per cent (79%). Charitable giving and formal volunteering were more common in affluent areas and those living in affluent areas were more likely (73%) to say people in their neighborhood could be trusted that those living in disadvantages areas (22%).


The voluntary sector, despite an increased demand for its services has been largely left out in the cold. Many voluntary sector organisation, particularly those that work with vulnerable people, often in disadvantaged areas have experienced cuts to sources of income that they relied on. Many are now ‘running on empty’ with further funding cuts in the pipeline.


There are, however, positives to report. Communities are taking over vital assets and local services, greater transparency and accountability, and higher levels of volunteering, particularly amongst young people.


Read the full report here.