About the Issue

About the Issue

The Big Unfair Society campaign transcends the struggles of one organisation to challenge the Government’s shift in attitude to equalities and the organisations that work hard to promote equality and fairness. This shift was well demonstrated in a speech made by Theresa May, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, where she called equality a ‘dirty word’.

Theresa May says equality is a dirty word

V4CE writes to the Guardian to respond


Meanwhile, David Cameron has invented the ‘Big Society’ to call on communities across Britain to rally together to build a thriving society using lots of initiative and goodwill. He is keen to empower local communities with the ability to identify their own needs and commission the public services they think best. There is an assumption that everyone will be equally able and willing to participate, that our society offers a level playing field to all. But in this new world, which is about the survival of the fittest, who cares for those being left behind and more importantly, who speaks up for them?

Why a specialist voice?
In recent years there has been a challenge to the rationale and validity of groups organising on the basis of race and ethnic identity. Despite demonstrable and on-going race inequalities, our stakeholder organisations have found it hard to communicate their value to policymakers, funders and the wider VCSE sector. BME VCSE organisations have struggled to locate themselves in policies around community cohesion, single equalities, multiculturalism, fairness and the push to rationalise services. 

Diversity and equality should play a fundamental part of the Big Society (particularly in the context of Britain being the most unequal society in Western Europe).

What will the BME voluntary and community sector lose?

  • The OCS strategic partners’ funding provides V4CE with core funding. Without the funding it is likely that redundancies will have to be made that threaten the future existence of the organisation.
  • Seven of the nine existing strategic partners’ have come to Voice4Change England to help reach BME VCOs and have committed to working with us in the future. However without this core funding we cannot promise to be there.
  • Achievements of V4CE to pull together a robust, respected and resourceful organisation in a very short period of time.
  • Recognition of the value of BME VCOs and other equality led organisations. By losing a seat at as strategic partners they are relegated to second class organisations.
  • Critical voice to ensure Big Society and other policies are inclusive will be lost.

Who will be the voice of the BME voluntary and community sector?


  • The BME VCS will be locked out from key policy tables - our presence invisible and voice ignored.
  • Generic organisations are working hard to include the BME VCS in their work but this is not their prime focus and they need the support of orgs like V4CE to do this successfully.
  • Generic voluntary and community sector support organisations make a huge contribution to civil society but it is not their core function to promote inclusion and tackle race inequality. They work much more broadly than this.
  • BME support organisations, like Voice4Change England have the reach, knowledge and skills to meet the needs of BME VCOs and the mandate to speak on their behalf. They can also broker relationships between BME VCOs and generic support organisations.