Social Policy and Society

Themed Section on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare

Care, Values and Support in Local Self-help Groups

Fiona Williams a1
a1 ESRC Research Group on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare (CAVA), School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds E-mail:

Article author query
williams f   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


This article examines ‘care’ and ‘values’ in local self-help groups and voluntary organisations which mobilise around partnering and parenting. It finds that a shared identity based upon common experiences of misrecognition and stigma is the most significant element of involvement. This provides the basis for new knowledge, for challenging professional practice, and for alternative practices of care and support based on trust, reciprocity and mutual respect. However, sometimes it also contributes to forms of social closure. The article sets these findings in the context of New Labour policy on voluntary organisations, participation, and parenting and partnering.