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But he also stressed more positive reasons for the sector’s existence. Voluntary action had a value in its own right: It is most important in a democratic society that active citizenship should be widespread. Whilst only a comparatively few persons can take direct part in the work of the statutory authorities, it is possible and desirable for a much greater number to watch that work intelligently and to contribute to its efficiency. (Mess 1947:213) THE VOLUNTARY TRADITION 35 In this statement we see the assertion (albeit not fully developed) of the importance of voluntary action as an agent of democratic participation which takes us back to de Tocqueville and Cobden and looks forward to the ideas behind the resurgence of voluntary action in the post-war period.

The period saw the creation of a number of large new trusts and foundations modelled on (and to some extent financed by) similar bodies in the United States. Key examples were the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust (1913), the Wellcome Foundation (1924) and the Pilgrim Trust (1930). The founding of these new trusts provides a nice symmetry to this review of the history of voluntary action in Britain, and takes us back to the developments of the endowed foundations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

T. (1956) British Social Work in the Nineteenth Century, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 2 The perils of partnership The voluntary sector and the state, 1945–1992 Nicholas Deakin VOLUNTARISM IN SEARCH OF A ROLE In 1946, the Warden of Toynbee Hall, the original and perhaps still the most famous of all East End settlements, wrote to a number of the settlement’s prominent supporters in the City of London (which lies within easy walking distance) appealing for help in putting it back on a working basis after the disruption caused by the war.

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