A Call to Action for the Common Good

About this project

In the UK, we see deepening inequality and social division, public alienation from democratic processes, a failure of reform, an inability to renew vital services and agencies, a ‘small-minded’ view of the world, and a loss of national confidence. ‘Business as usual’ is dominated by short-term individual self-interest, institutional vested interests, negative competition, and command-and-control practices. We don’t accept it has to be like this. Our ‘story of hope’ aims to tap people’s survival instincts to pull together, not apart, in difficult times. It starts with the belief that each person matters and that our relationships with each other are what makes society strong. It recognises that, acting together, we can all be better off, that some things can only done collectively, and that some essential things have to be shared by all of us, including future generations.

More info

Key questions

Is there a ‘story of hope’ to be told about people pulling together and not apart in difficult times? Can we refocus our attention on the relationships that make society strong? What social outcomes depend on collective action alone? What social assets must be shared in order to distribute them fairly and preserve them for future generations?


We curated a hopeful national debate over a two year timescale. We convened a wider group of key allies, and delivered an online resource showcasing examples of the common good in action.


Civil Exchange led the development stage of the call to action for the common good.

CoVi (Common Vision UK) curated the call for evidence.

Volunteering Matters (formerly known as CSV) was the secretariat for the call to evidence.

NAVCA was a founding partner of the call to action for the common good.

Locality was a founding partner of the call to action for the common good.

We are grateful for financial and in-kind assistance from Carnegie UK Trust, CCLA and the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Further information

Watch the animation


Building the story of hope

By definition the common good is bigger that our individual selves, and belongs to no political party or faith or lobby group. It will be only what we all make it. The more people and organisations involved, the better it will be.

Welcome to a story of hope

Our aim is to build an inspiring and convincing national ‘story of hope’, challenging the current consensus, and based on our belief that we can only solve society’s big problems if we unlock the potential of people and institutions working together for the long term common good.

Common good thinking

We all have a general sense of what the common good means. Something that ‘serves the common good’ is something that works well for all of us, isn’t it? Well yes, but that does raise a few tricky questions.

Common good organisations

A good question to ask about the behaviour of any company, public body charity or any other institution is ‘does it contribute to the common good, or does it get in the way?’ Of course, many do both. That leads to the next question: ‘how can we shift institutional behaviour more in favour of the common good?’.