Welcome to the Voluntary Action History Society!

Voluntary Action History Seminars – Summer Term 2018

We are pleased to invite you to one or all of the three seminars we are holding during the Summer term at the Institute of Historical Research at Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC . Seminars take place at 6pm and finish at7.30pm with a glass or two of wine. All are welcome.

Next Seminar

16th April 2018: Blue Sky Thinking, Lester Hillman

Coming Up!

14th May 2018: The Military and voluntary action in Gravesend, Kent 1860 to 1872, Paul Mersh, University of Greenwich

25th June 2018: How food got its bank:  The background and evolution of food banking, Alex Murdock, London South Bank University

Call for Papers!

Voluntary Action History Society Study Day
The end of the voluntary sector’s infrastructure? Are intermediary bodies doomed? Does it matter?

Date and time: Saturday, 16 June 2018, 10AM-4PM
Venue: Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E

Target audience: Researchers interested in government/voluntary sector relations in general and intermediary bodies in particular; practitioners in intermediary bodies; staff of local authorities/government departments whose remit includes intermediary bodies

Issues: We are looking for papers which will address the issues set out below.

Many organisations that promoted and supported important segments of the voluntary sector have been decimated in recent years. The London Voluntary Service Council has come to an end after more than a hundred years of service to the voluntary agencies of the capital; Volunteering England has been folded into the NCVO with the loss of its distinctive voice and dedicated research identity; and a host of local intermediary bodies like councils for voluntary service, volunteer centres, community associations and settlements have been forced to close their doors.

The intermediary bodies under threat are local, regional and national organisations which aim to represent particular communities, interests or geographic areas; co-ordinate services and other forms of action; and lobby or campaign on behalf of these communities, interests and areas.

Over the course of the last 150 years government, voluntary organisations supported by intermediary bodies and intermediary bodies themselves developed shared expectations that intermediary bodies would provide, where needed, comprehensive coverage and support; enjoy productive working relationships (partnership) with government through, for example, involvement in policy-making and -implementation; and receive adequate financial support from government for basic functions as well as specific projects. These expectations reached their greatest fulfilment under New Labour (1997-2010), which highlighted and, indeed, expanded the role of intermediary bodies as capacity-builders for the voluntary sector, gave formal recognition to partnership (local, regional and national compacts) and provided substantial funding to secure their better functioning.

However, since 2010 governments have changed their priorities: they have largely ignored intermediary bodies and cut their funding. This has had a negative impact: many intermediary bodies have reduced the scope of their activities or abandoned some activities altogether; some have merged with other bodies or organisations or redefined their missions in order to keep going; and some have closed.

This study day will explore the development of intermediary bodies and their current actual and metaphysical crisis. It will ask whether their historical role was meaningful and effective, whether they have the capacity and nerve to continue in this role or to find a new role and indeed whether they will continue to exist. It will ask whether intermediary bodies matter and, if so, what we can do to save them.

Proposing a paper: If you would like to propose a paper, please submit a short abstract (around 300 words) by e-mail to meta@practicalwisdomr2z.co.uk no later than 3 April 2018.

If you have any queries or if you wish to discuss a proposed paper’s suitability, please e-mail Meta Zimmeck.

Booking: Booking will open once the programme is finalised.

In the meantime …

Our next seminar:

16th April 2018: Blue Sky Thinking, Lester Hillman

For more upcoming events click here

Latest Blog Posts

Disabled Ex-Servicemen of the First World War and Christian Charity in Inter-War Britain by Bethany Rowley

Charity in the Georgian Era: Lessons for Today? by Andrew Rudd

If you have any voluntary action-related news or events you would like posted on the VAHS website, please email Louis Carserides at louis.carserides@outlook.com

For more blog posts, click here.

If you have any voluntary action-related news or events you would like posted on the VAHS website, please email Louis Carserides at louis.carserides@outlook.com

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