“Never think a small band of committed people cannot change the world – it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, American anthropologist


Much has been discussed about the Big Society; this project set out to discover more about the Good Society.

What are the foundations of a Good Society?

Where does it exist – and how?

And in a time of austerity and cuts to crucial services, how important is the Good Society?

Focusing on seven geographical areas, researcher Zoe Van Zwanenberg and journalist Helen Clifton, in partnership with Church Action on Poverty, used a participatory research process to encourage church-based, faith and community groups to tell their own story, in their own words.

They spoke with dozens of volunteers, teachers, pupils, workers, ministers, and activists in schools, childrens’ centres, pensioners’ clubs, development trusts and social enterprises.

The research focused on areas of major social challenge, where people rely on the imagination and energy of small numbers of paid workers and larger numbers of volunteers.

Commissioned by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the project aims to make a contribution to the wider debate concerning the role of the Church, and faith more generally, in seeking the common good.

The research is gathered into a report here.

It is hoped the stories and research will prompt others to have a conversation about the values that have emerged.

The project does not intend to offer sociopolitical analysis, and does not offer any recommendations to the Churches or to Government.

The voices must speak for themselves.