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‘Small project, big difference’: capacity building through a national volunteering fund: an evaluation of the Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund

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This article reports the findings of a mixed-methods evaluation study on the impact of a national fund to support volunteering as a mechanism to achieve health and social goals, within the Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund (HSCVF) programme, established by the formerly named Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Social Care). The article adds understanding of the mechanisms through which government organisations can build voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisational capacity to support volunteers. First, the programme increased capacity via resource mobilisation to enhance volunteer recruitment; second, it strengthened VCSE organisations through partnerships/linkages/networking; and finally, it supported learning and skills development. The HSCVF impacted on both volunteering projects and host organisations to produce a range of positive outcomes that were particularly marked in smaller organisations: ‘small project, big difference’. Successful community capacity building can result from programmes such as HSCVF, with this article contributing to the evidence base by detailing the processes through which this occurred.
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Keywords: community capacity building; evaluation; mechanisms; volunteering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Leeds Beckett University, UK 2: University of New South Wales, Australia 3: Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Publication date: March 2020

This article was made available online on January 31, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "‘Small project, big difference’: capacity building through a national volunteering fund: an evaluation of the Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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