Building bridges: the third sector responding locally to diversity

Margaret Harris, Patricia Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on a hitherto unstudied segment of the broad 'third sector': organisations and groupings that aim to build bridges (that is, increase interpersonal contacts) between people of different faiths and/or ethnic groups. We draw on the findings of an empirical study, conducted in three diverse urban areas of England, of community-level projects with bridge building as an explicit aim. We describe the characteristics of bridge-building activities and the challenges they face; both the organisational challenges and those that arise from the nature of bridge building itself. We conclude by exploring the implications of our findings for an understanding of the third sector generally and for the potential role of the sector in responding to our diverse society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-58
Number of pages18
JournalVoluntary Sector Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Voluntary sector review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Harris, M., & Young, P. (2010). Building bridges: the third sector responding locally to diversity. Voluntary sector review, 1(1), 41-58. is available online at:


  • bridging
  • community organisations
  • ethnic groups
  • faith groups
  • organisational challenges


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