One of the main features of the voluntary sector in Britain — and the voluntary youth sector, in particular — is its diversity and breadth. This diversity manifests itself on a number of different levels: Its size — ranging from small, local neighbourhood projects to large national bodies with international affiliations.Its main functions — for example, delivering direct service, advice, mutual aid and infrastructure functions for affiliated bodies.The way it is managed and resourced.Equally as diverse are the meanings of ‘voluntary organizations’; the term is often used interchangeably with ‘not-for-profit organizations’, charitable organizations, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), or the ‘Third Sector’ (as it became known and re-branded under New Labour). The Third Sector, thus redefined, incorporates a wide range of different organizations, including social enterprises. Some would argue that the term ‘Third Sector’ does not capture the breadth of what voluntary organizations contribute to civil society as it disproportionately focusses on larger organizations that deliver services, at the expense of smaller organizations that are ‘owned by [their] members’ (Open letter to Lisa Nandy, July 2014).
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