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A Brief History of the Council for Voluntary Service in Northamptonshire

The organisation now known as the Council for Voluntary Service, Northampton, and County has been in existence since 1906.

The Charity Organisation Society began in 1869. It was formed with the declared aim of co-ordinating all the voluntary charities that existed at the time. Their members were volunteers, reliant on contributions from the wealthier classes, and motivated by compassion for the needy, religious beliefs and in some cases – a sense of guilt as regards the huge discrepancies in income between different social classes.

The story of Northamptonshire Charity over the last 90 years reflects the social history of this county and the people’s endeavours individually and collectively to help their less fortunate neighbours.

The fortunes of the organisation have waxed and waned with the communities’ perceptions of need. The coming of the Welfare State, like the provision of workers’ benefits decade before, was taken as removing the need for charities and voluntary work.

In fact, the voluntary sector and council for Voluntary Service is busier than ever. In its search for cost effective welfare services that can no longer be afforded directly by the statutory institutions. This, in turn, has led to the search for greater skills in general management, personnel and financial areas by member organisations, who seek from the Council for Voluntary Service increasing advice, support and training.

As in the past, there continues to be a supply of volunteers to take on the charities’ management function but, as with paid workers, the increasing pressures of voluntary sector work demand an increasing professionalism from all those people taking part.

CVS Northamptonshire has always been active in a manner that showed that “Infrastructure for Voluntary and Community Groups” was always a requirement, even if it had different names over the years.

Some of the organisations that you may recognise on the High Street today were initiated, developed and supported through to independence by CVS Northamptonshire.

These include;

  • Northampton Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Welfare Rights
  • Volunteer Bureaux (Now Volunteer Centres)
  • Age Concern Northampton
  • Northamptonshire Community Foundation