The organisations that are best placed to make the Big Society a reality are being squeezed to breaking point, and the people and places that bring communities together are disappearing.

The Big Society will not benefit those groups hit hardest by public spending cuts.

The New Austerity and the Big Society is an 18-month project exploring the cumulative impact of the economic recession, public sector cuts and efforts to build a Big Society. Through peer research and capacity building workshops, this project will tell real people’s stories of what living through the cuts is like in some of the most deprived areas of London and Birmingham. It also seeks to understand if people in areas like this can make the most of the opportunities presented in the shift towards open public services; ultimately asking, can the Big Society cut it in an age of austerity?