On Thursday I was in London to meet Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO. Stuart is working on developing NCVO’s civil society agenda and is having a series of one-to-one meetings with organisations representing independent schools, co-operatives, housing associations, trade unions, universities etc. Having discussed the role of sports clubs in civil society with Tim Lamb from the Central Council for Physical Recreation, he was keen to have a similar conversation with me about voluntary arts groups. This fits well with VAN’s own vision of “an empowered, participative, fulfilled and healthy civil society” and it was great to hear that Stuart sees the voluntary arts as a key component of civil society. It will be interesting to see how far NCVO can take the idea of a more collaborative approach to developing civil society in the period leading up to the next general election.
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