Journal of Social Policy


Delivering Public Services in the Mixed Economy of Welfare: Perspectives from the Voluntary and Community Sector in Rural England


a1 The Graduate School, College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4BU email:

a2 School of Social Work, Psychology and Public Health, University of Salford


The voluntary and community sector in England is playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of public services to older adults and in doing so they rely on unpaid volunteers. In this article, we draw on the findings of a recent qualitative study of the impact on the voluntary and community sector of delivering ‘low-level’ public services that promote independent living and wellbeing in old age. The fieldwork focused on services that help older adults aged 70+ living in remote rural communities across three English regions. Those charged with service delivery, which is increasingly the voluntary and community sector, face particular challenges, such as uncertain funding regimes and reliance on volunteer labour.