Give a Day is a ‘pure’ civil society activity, meaning it is not owned by any individual or organisation. It brings together people with ideas about how their community might be improved; with people who give a day to bring these ideas to fruition; and local businesses that give resources or specialist staff time. People might want to recover their local park. Other local people will give a day to clean and paint. A local business will donate the paint and send a staff member with specialist gardening equipment.

A person or group acts as a catalyst, connecting the projects, people giving a day, and business offering materials and staff.

Give a Day is held together by values not money or organisation. When it works it increases pride in place, connection, trust and belonging between people who live in that place, and a shared sense of control over destiny.

Give a Day was started in Carlisle by two local activists, Andy Fearon and Miriam Lowe. In 2019, they started a conversation with Ratio about how they could best respond to people from other towns and cities interested in adopting the idea. Half a dozen local activists from towns in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England came together in Carlisle to take the idea forward. They had plans, all derailed by the pandemic.

The work started again in the Spring of 2022 with the support of a development grant from the Community Fund as part of their Bringing People Together programme.