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Home > People and Sustainable Communities > Third Sector

The contents of this website are under review following the formation of a new HM Government. Current information may be found at www.gonetwork.gos.gov.uk.

Volunteers from the Adventure Unlimited project helping disadvantaged children to participate in outdoor activities

Third Sector

The Third Sector is a diverse, active and passionate sector with common characteristics of being non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are value-driven, and which principally re-invest their surpluses to further social, environmental or cultural services. It encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals both large and small.

There are thousands of third sector organisations in the South East. These range from small local community groups operating at a neighbourhood level to large established national and international organisations. Some have no income at all and rely entirely on the efforts of volunteers; others are, in effect, medium-sized businesses run by paid professional staff.

For the latest news and policy updates from the Office of the Third Sector, please see the Cabinet Office website

The Government Office for the South East (GOSE) is committed to:

  • supporting this diverse spectrum of third sector activity
  • continuing to promote the Compact, which defines the relationship between the public and third sector to develop partnerships that formulate and implement policy across all the sectors.

We also work with RAISE which is the regional body for voluntary/community organisations in the South East of England. The RAISE website below has more information.

GOSE also works with members of SE2 which is the South East Social Enterprise Partnership. The SE2 website below has more information.

Third Sector in the South East


National Funding Organisations

Capacitybuilders: Set up in 2006 to take on responsibility for the ChangeUp programme, the organisation works in partnership with other organisations (government and other infrastructure bodies) to build capacity of the Third Sector. See the Capacitybuilders website below for more information.

Futurebuilders: Futurebuilders is a unique £150m Government-backed fund offering support and investment to third sector organisations to build their capacity to deliver public services, with a combination of loans, grants and professional advice. The Futurebuilders website below has more information.

The Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is delivering the Community Assets programme on behalf of the Office of the Third Sector. This is not Lottery funding.
Community Assets aims to empower communities by offering grants for refurbishment of local authority buildings in England, to enable their transfer to the third sector.

Community Assets will bring about the following outcomes:

  • Local third sector organisations have greater security and independence, and are better able to meet the needs of the communities they serve
  • Communities have more access to better facilities that respond to their needs
  • There is more effective partnership working between local authorities and the third sector

A list of the successful awards can be found at on the Big Lottery Fund website.
These are 'in principal' awards - and the funds will only be awarded upon submission and subsequent assessment of a successful capital delivery plan.

Enterprising Solutions Awards

On 20 October 2008, the 10th Enterprising Solutions Awards ceremony  were held.   These  annual awards recognise the best social enterprises in the UK.

Sunlight CIC  were winners of the Best New Social Enterprise. It's a community driven social enterprise based in Gillingham, Kent that tackles health and social inequality in the surrounding community. It was founded in 2006 in order to manage six different social enterprise businesses that offer a variety of employment and learning opportunities to local people.

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