Revealed: Big Society exists – but only one in ten of us are in it - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Revealed: Big Society exists – but only one in ten of us are in it

Study identifies ‘civil core’ responsible for most of the work for good causes

Deputy Political Editor

David Cameron’s ambition to nurture a Big Society looks as distant as ever, judging by a new report.

The survey for the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has revealed that only nine per cent of the population – a group it has dubbed Britain’s “civic core” – is responsible for donating two-thirds of the time and money given to good causes, while one in four people gives either nothing or very little.

The concept of the Big Society, in which all parts of the community work together for the mutual good, was at the heart of the Conservative election manifesto.

But it has been quietly sidelined after critics accused it of being a cover for cuts to public services. One senior Tory source told The Independent yesterday: “I doubt you’ll be hearing about the Big Society at the next election.”

The ComRes survey confirmed that the lion’s share of volunteering in Britain is still undertaken by a small group of the population.

It also established that women are more likely to be generous than men and retired people are more prepared to give their money and time than younger age groups.

The CAF said in its report: “It is largely the generosity of this civic core, in providing charitable donations and volunteering their time, that powers charities.”

John Low, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “Britain is one of the most charitable countries in the world, yet this research shows a stark divide in society – between those who do the most for good causes and those who do little, if anything at all.

“It is a worrying fact that nearly one in four people do very little if anything to support charities which are at the forefront of civil society.

“Charities, Government and businesses can all encourage people to discover how rewarding it is to support the causes we all care about.”

Members of the “civic core” are also the most passionate about the public’s duty to vote, the survey found. More than 90 per cent of them said it was important to take part in elections, compared with fewer than three-quarters of the “zero-givers”.

A similar proportion told ComRes they said “hello” to passers-by in the street, against 64 per cent of the “zero-givers”.

In numbers

66% The proportion of the time and money given to good causes by nine per cent of the population (“civic core”) 

90% The proportion of the “civil core” who think it is a duty to vote

25% The proportion of people who give little or nothing 

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Teaching Assistants urgently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week