An Introduction to the Voluntary Sector, 1st Edition by Justin Smith

By Justin Smith

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It was also the case that friendly societies did not provide medical services to women or children of the insured members. The societies themselves were distressed at the attack on their role. The Oddfellows magazine stormed in September 1911: Working men are waking to the fact that this is a subtle attempt to take from the class to which they belong the administration of the great voluntary organisations which they have built up for themselves, and to hand over the future control to the paid servants of the governing class….

The durability of the voluntary sector after 1945 is examined by Nicholas Deakin in the following chapter. MUTUAL AID AND SELF-HELP The origins of mutual aid The second main impulse of voluntary action, as identified by Beveridge in his 1948 report, was mutual aid (or self-help)—that impulse which ‘has its origin in a sense of one’s own need for security against misfortune, and realisation that, since one’s fellows have the same need, by undertaking to help one another all may help themselves’ (Beveridge 1948).

In many respects the model of relations between the state and the voluntary sector which emerged after 1945 was based along these lines. The language of the extension ladder may not have reappeared, but the accepted role for the voluntary sector (until the 1970s) was very much that of supporting and complementing the work of the state. There was criticism at the time that the Minority Report saw no role for the voluntary sector. This was refuted. The Dean of Norwich (Beatrice’s only convert on the Commission) said ‘what we want is the volunteer as aiding and supplementing the public authority; never as substitute or alternative’ (quoted in Owen 1964:521).

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