As a result of COVID-19, civil society infrastructure - the structures and systems for supporting civil society – appears to have become fashionable again after years of neglect.

This article examines five recent ‘episodes’ which together might signal the beginnings of a surprising turn in the way civil society infrastructure in England is discussed, and its role recognised and valued. In the decade before COVID-19, a great deal of civil society infrastructure had been dismantled following disinvestment and disenchantment in policy and practice, creating a fragmented landscape of provision. During the pandemic, however, it has experienced something of a renaissance, at least in terms of national debate and developments. The article seeks to place this potential shift in historical context and begins to trace lines of connection through recent developments. It concludes by contrasting two visions for how civil society infrastructure should be organised, suggesting tentative counter-currents to a decade-long project of dis-coordinating civil society infrastructure.

Read the paper: Surprising Turn of Events for Civil society Infrastructure in England