Little leisure centres and libraries in the Big Society

Geoff Nichols, Deborah Forbes, Lindsay Findlay-King, Gordon Macfadyen

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Abstract

This paper reports research into the process of transfer of the ownership, management and delivery of leisure services, from the public to the voluntary sector. The capacity of volunteering to expand to meet the ideals of a Big Society (Alcock, 2010) depends on overcoming barriers of; a perceived lack of time, the fragmentation of available time (Such, 2013) and a trend towards individual participation in all leisure activities. Volunteers require a pool of social capital; which is unevenly distributed (Macmillan,2011); a sense of efficacy and a confidence that they can make a difference. This paper reports research into the process of transfer of the ownership, management and delivery of leisure services, from the public to the voluntary sector (Nichols and Forbes, 2014). A catalyst for this process has been cuts in local government budgets. The provision of sports facilities, green spaces and libraries is not enshrined in law. Their high political profile makes closure undesirable but local government is seeking to divest itself from funding them. Volunteer groups emerge as campaigning organisations but then have to change to ones capable of managing and delivering facilities. Through interviews covering over 14 facilities this research reports how volunteers have achieved this and the support which has helped them. This leads to a conclusion on the capacity of the voluntary sector to replace the public sector and the practicality of the ideals of a Big Society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2015
EventLeisure Studies Association 2015 Conference - Bournemouth
Duration: 9 Jul 2015 → …

Conference

ConferenceLeisure Studies Association 2015 Conference
Period9/07/15 → …

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