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Voluntarism and long‐term care in the countryside: the paradox of a threadbare sector

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This article contributes to the burgeoning literature on the geographies of voluntarism by addressing how voluntary sector providers in rural communities respond to the downloading of responsibilities for health and social care associated with public service restructuring. Drawing on a qualitative analysis of long‐term care in Ontario, it focuses on the consequent actions of non‐profit organizations, community support groups and volunteer caregivers in three different rural settings. Despite evidence of increasingly disproportionate levels of voluntarism amongst rural communities, the results reveal sector‐ and place‐specific opportunities that allow voluntary sector providers to overcome the limitations of the rural service environment. The findings suggest that in the longer run, however, the growing dependence on local solutions will only exacerbate the uneven geographies of health and social care across rural space. Resolving this paradox remains a critical yet neglected challenge for sustainable rural services and communities.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: 2008-06-01

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