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What does the future of ‘doing good’ look like?

January 10th 2018

Many of us across Wales are thinking about what 2018 will bring and what changes for better we might want to make to our lives.  John Rose takes a timely look at a recent piece of work considering “The Future of Doing Good.”


Last year, working with the Bevan Foundation, we set about seeking a wide variety of opinions about what constitutes “Doing Good” in today’s society. At a time when many feel the pressure of growing demands and shrinking resources we wanted to get people talking, gather thoughts and opinions from a wide cross section of society, rather than develop specific solutions.

We found some general themes emerging which we’ve published in a report “The Future of Doing Good in Wales” including;

  • Who does “Good”?
  • How does good manifests itself; meeting need, supporting active engaged communities or changing systems?
  • Some of the challenges associated with “Doing Good”

I was pleased to see that a good number of people had engaged in the workshops run by the Bevan Foundation, but it struck me that it had been hard to engage people from the private and public sectors who should equally have an interest in “Doing Good”.  It was also evident that some felt that “Doing Good” was very much a space that was naturally the domain of the Third Sector.

Whilst I don’t doubt that the Third Sector has a strong focus on improving people’s lives, surely “Doing Good” should not be exclusively considered the domain of the Third Sector? Both the Public and Private Sectors have a vital part to play in creating greater social value in a vibrant and future looking Wales?

As a public sector worker myself I find it important to remind myself that there’s a clue in the name “public servant”… we’re here to serve the public, something we’re aspiring to do at The Big Lottery Fund as we implement our ambition of putting “People in the Lead”.

And the private sector too has a role whether that’s through job and wealth creation,  responsible business, philanthropy or indeed the desire of entrepreneurs and businesses to create social value as well as wealth. We hear more and more that this is of great importance to the millennial generation and one which informs their spending habits.

People attending the workshops told us that “Doing Good” in all sorts of ways was often driven by need, but that these needs could be met in different ways.  Sometimes by specific organisations addressing the needs of people who may not have a voice or may require extra support, or by encouraging active engaged communities that can address the issues that matter to them.

These discussions led to lots of debate about some of the challenges faced by those “Doing Good” which got me thinking about them , but it also got me thinking about the great everyday examples of people doing good.  Every day thousands of volunteers the length and breadth of Wales who, free of charge and often with little thanks, run a host of activities like children’s sports, PTAs, community venues and events.

So maybe when we think about the Future of “Doing Good”, we shouldn’t only ask ourselves, “What sort of society do I want to be part of?”  but also “What can I do for my community to create the society I want?”

If you would like to find out more visit the Future of Doing Good website.

John Rose is Director of the Big Lottery Fund Wales. 


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