The voluntary and community sector (often referred to as the VCS) is made up of a wide range of organisations and groups.

There is no universally accepted definition for the organisations that form part of the sector, but one often used is that they are:

  • Independent of government and constitutionally self-governing, usually with an unpaid voluntary management committee (at least half);
  • Value-driven – they exist for the good of the community, to promote social, environmental or cultural objectives in order to benefit society as a whole, or particular groups within it;
  • Not run for financial gain – they re-invest any surpluses to further the ‘good’ they create for the community.

The type of groups that make up the sector includes charities (registered and unregistered), community groups, community interest companies, friendly societies, social clubs, many sports clubs, churches and other faith groups, and voluntary organisations.

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