The end of the voluntary sector’s infrastructure? Are intermediary bodies doomed? Does it matter?

Booking now open

Date: Saturday, 16th June 2018

Place: Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Time: 10 AM to 5 PM

Registration fee: £35 for members of VAHS and £40 for non-members

Register via Eventbrite today!

Points of interest

A varied programme of talks, discussion and debate including lunch and concluding with drinks and VAHS’s AGM.

What it is about:

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 as well as specialist associations for women, disabled people, and BME communities 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 century 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.


 9.45       Registration and Coffee

10.15       Taking the long view of voluntary sector infrastructure
                 organisations: Where did they come from? What were they for?
                  Colin Rochester, Practical Wisdom R2Z

10.45       Tensions and contradictions within and towards infrastructure
                   Sean Creighton

11.30       A brief history of central funding of voluntary sector infrastructure
                  Nigel Siederer, Good Foundations

12.15       The disorganisation of voluntary sector infrastructure
                  Rob Macmillan, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield                        Hallam University

13.00      Lunch

13.45       Reports of our death are greatly exaggerated: The view of local
                  infrastructure from the National Association for Voluntary and
                 Community Action
                  Soo Nevison, Community Action Bradford & District and NAVCA

14.30       Changing the paradigm
                   Bob Rhodes and Chris Brown, Forest Voluntary Action Forum

15.15       Panel discussion
                  Alex Buckmire, Voluntary Action Harrow
Jan Crawley, South West Foundation
Mike Locke, Volunteer Centre Kensington & Chelsea
Andrew O’Brien, Charity Finance Group

16.00      Drinks followed by VAHS AGM

17.00      Close of study day


31 January 2017 The Archives and Records Association welcome nominations for the ARA Archive Volunteering Award for 2018. A short nomination form is available from the ARA website (click here) and organisations may nominate projects, or on ongoing volunteer programmes, that ran during 2017/2018. 

6 June 2017 The University of Warwick has announced a conference on ‘From Trauma to Protection: the Twentieth Century as the Children’s Century’ to be held 19–20 April 2018. The conference seeks to bring together scholars working on children’s experiences of trauma/maltreatment (broadly defined) and attempts to relieve it during the long twentieth century, including efforts and experiences of voluntary organisations. For more information, click here.

25 April 2017 The British Academy, in cooperation with Charity Finance Group, is hosting ‘Toolkit Launch: Improving Records Management in Charities’ on 15 June 2017 in London. This event will preview the new toolkit, designed to help charities improve their practices, policies and processes of record keeping, and will include talks from experts in voluntary sector records management, including a keynote by Bruno Longmore of National Records Scotland. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information, click here.

18 April 2017 London South Bank University is launching four new history degrees in September and is now recruiting for a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer post in History (deadline 23 April 2017).  The new degrees cover modern social and political history with a particular focus on the history of activism, diversity and how change happens. Click here for job description/application.

26 March 2017 VAHS will be holding a Study Day on ‘Voluntary Action and the Fight for Heritage: 50 years of Conservation Areas, 1967-2017‘ on Saturday, 24 June 2017 at St Pancras Old Church. The day will include talks by people active in the field, a guided walk around the King’s Cross/St Pancras development area, our AGM and a drinks party. More info will follow, but make sure to put the date in your diary now!

6 February 2017 The next Voluntary Sector Studies Network day seminar will be held in Glasgow on 18 May 2017, focusing on Border Crossings: Implications for Civil Society in a ‘Dis’-United Kingdom. The CfP can be found here, and it closes on 26 February 2017.

1 February 2017 The Archives and Records Association opens nominations for its Archive Volunteering Award. Now in its seventh year, this award is designed to celebrate the contribution of volunteers within the archive sector and to promote good practice in volunteering. For more information and nomination forms, click here.

18 November 2016 A seminar on the archives of voluntary organisations will take place at 5.45pm on 6 December 2016 in room N304 at the IHR. Entitled ‘‘Do not shred!’ Challenges and triumphs of working with voluntary sector archives’, Dr. Georgina Brewis and Dr. Charlotte Clements will be discussing the challenges facing voluntary organisations when it comes to preserving and using their archives. Everyone is welcome to attend. More information can be found here.

11 November 2016 The final speaker line-up for Northumbria University’s conference ‘Is there a democratic deficit in archives?‘ (24–25 January 2017) is now available. For more information, see the conference blog.

13 October 2016 Bookings are now open for the next VSSN day seminar, to be held 22 November 2016, hosted by the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham in association with the #iwill campaign. The seminar will explore the broad theme of youth social action, which includes activities such as volunteering, fundraising, campaigning, political participation, democratic engagement and activism that young people do to help others and the environment. The day will include five papers on a range of different topics associated with youth social action. Full details including programme, abstract and speaker biographies, and the booking form, can be found here.

28 September 2016 UCL will be hosting a public roundtable discussion, entitled ‘Writing new histories of humanitarianism’ on 8 December 2016 at 16.00. Speakers include Professor Norbert Götz (Södertörn University, Sweden), Professor Dominque Marshall (Carleton University, Canada), Professor Bertrand Taithe (University of Manchester, UK) and Dr. Pamala Wiepking (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, The Netherlands) and will be chaired by Dr. Georgina Brewis of UCL Institute of Education. For more information and to register for the event, please click here.

20 September 2016 Northumbria University will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Is there a democratic deficit in archives?‘ on 24–25 January 2017. The conference will explore the idea of an accountability gap in the archives created by existing public oversight of the process for releasing official records via the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council and the Information Commissioner, but no oversight of the creation, selection or disposition of records. For more information, see the conference blog.

25 July 2016 The next VSSN Day Seminar will take place at the University of  Birmingham on Tuesday 22 November. Entitled ‘Youth social action: What do we know about young people’s participation?‘, the conference will explore the broad theme of youth social action. If you would like to propose a paper for the day, please submit an abstract of around 250 words and a brief biography by email to Emma Taylor at no later than 3 August 2016.

21 June 2016 Michael Locke has written a blog post on Maxilla Nursery Centre (1978–2015), highlighting themes of community action and partnership with local authorities. You can find his blog post here.

18 April 2016 The 2016 AGM will take place at 4.30 on 16 May in room 304 of the IHR. This meeting will be immediately followed by the VAHS seminar.

11 February 2016 Andrew Rudd has written a blog post on the lessons we can learn from 18th-century charity. You can find his blog post here.

13 January 2016 The Archives and Records Association is seeking nominations for its 2016 Archive Volunteering Award. This award celebrates the role of volunteers in supporting archive services and is supported by The National Archives, the Welsh Government’s Museums Archives and Libraries Division and the Scottish Council on Archives. For more information, click here.

16 December 2015 Just announced: “Welcome to Britain? Then and Now. A conference in memory of Eleanor Rathbone 1972–1946, the ‘MP for Refugees'” will take place at King’s College London on World Refugee Day, Monday, 20 June 2016. The day will be split into two sessions: the morning session will be devoted to papers with a historical perspective and the afternoon session will be devoted to papers examining contemporary issues. Click here for the Call for Papers, more information and/or to express interest in the conference.

1 December 2015 Published today: Colin Rochester’s blog detailing the VAHS’s 25th anniversary conference to be held 13–15 July 2016 at the University of Liverpool. Don’t forget, the Call for Papers closes on 31 December!

25 November 2015 The keynote speaker at our 25th Anniversary Conference, ‘Thinking about the Past, Thinking about the Future’ next July will be Dr. Frank Prochaska. Make plans now to attend! CfP closes on 31 December 2015.

11 November 2015 Research For All: Universities and Society is a new journal for anyone, working inside or outside universities, who is committed to seeing research make a difference in society. They are currently seeking articles that investigate the relationship between theory and practice or analyse the thinking around an aspect of engaged research; commentaries that offer views about thinking, practices and debates in engaged research; personal reflections on who inspired the writer’s thought and practice; and reviews of relevant publications, events and resources. For more information, contact Pat Gordon-Smith at by 10 December 2015.

9 November 2015 The Histories of the Red Cross Movement: Continuities and Change conference will be held 9–11 September 2016 at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. The conference seeks to bring together scholars from around the world to explore a number of themes that relate to the historical development of the international Red Cross Movement. For more information, click here.

25 September 2015 The Voluntary Sector Studies Network will host a one-day conference on ‘CAMPAIGNING AND ADVOCACY: Has the voluntary sector lost its voice?’ in London on 26 November 2015. For more information, including the day’s programme and information on booking, click here.

25 September 2015 The archive of the deaconess Community of St Andrew, which originated in 1861, has been catalogued and is now available for research at Lambeth Palace Library. This archive contains material relating to the Kaiserswerth deaconesses, which were the subject of an earlier blog post. For more information on the archive, click here.

15 September 2015 There are still a few places left for the History from Elsewhere Symposium at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday, 18 September from 10–4.30. For more information and to book a ticket, click here.

25 August 2015 VAHS Committee member Bob Snape has just published wide-ranging article, ‘Voluntary action and leisure: an historical perspective 1830-1939’ in the most recent issue of the Voluntary Sector Review 6 (2), pp. 153–71.

13 August 2015 King’s College University of London is holding a workshop on ‘Children’s benefit or burden?‘ on 3 September 2015 as part of an AHRC-funded project entitled ‘Agents of Future Promise‘. Anyone who is interested in attending should contact Laura King for more information.

13 August 2015 Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education will be holding a weekend course on ‘Objects of Charity: Themes and Sources for Researching the History of Charities‘ on 23–24 Jan 2016. Places are limited to 20 students, so sign up early if interested!

5 August 2015 A workshop on the history of humanitarian aid was recently held at the University of Carleton in Canada.  Will Tait, a PhD candidate at the university, reflects on the event in a new blog post.

29 July 2015 The Call for Papers for the Urban History Group 2016 Conference has been announced. The conference will be held 31 March–1 April at the University of Cambridge on the theme of ‘Re-Evaluating the Place of the City in History’.

14 July 2015 Jon Weier, who has recently contributed to our blog, has recently taken part in a roundtable at the CHA annual meeting on ‘Public, Private, Political: Charitable Organisations and Civic Engagement’. The podcast for this roundtable can be found here.

10 July 2015 The Call for Papers for our 25th Anniversary Conference on ‘Thinking about the Past, Thinking about the Future’ has been published. The conference will be held 13–15 July 2016 at the University of Liverpool.

25 May 2015 The event ‘Recording the Voluntary Sector’ will be held Friday, 5 June 2015, at the British Academy. This event formally launches the British Academy Research Project ‘Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain’. Aimed at representatives of voluntary organisations, the event will offer information and guidance on preserving and using archives through a mix of expert input and workshop sessions. For more information, click here.

21 May 2015 Announcing the date and location of the VAHS 6th International Conference! Save the date: 13–15 July 2016 at University of Liverpool. More info to come!

14 May 2015 The Second Canadian Workshop on the History of Humanitarian Aid will be held 30 May 2015 at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. More information can be found by downloading this flyer or visiting this link.

4 May 2015 The University of Stirling School of Applied Social Science is seeking to appoint a Research Fellow for the project ‘Developing the Use of Administrative Data on Scotland’s Civil Society,’ funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council. More details can be found here.

27 April 2015 The 2015 AGM will be held Monday 11 May at 4.45 in our normal seminar room, 304 at the IHR. Also, today is the deadline for emailing Sarah with nominations for Executive Committee!

21 April 2015 The 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Voluntary Action History Society will be held at 4.45pm on Monday 11 May. Members of the charity should send nominations for election to the Executive Committee to Sarah Lloyd (Secretary) in writing at least 14 days before the meeting: Details of the venue will be posted shortly, but it is anticipated to be at the Institute of Historical Research, London.

26 March 2015 The Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University is seeking a permanent, full-time researcher with a background in quantitative research methods and applied econometric/statistical methods. For more information, click here.

11 March 2015 The 2015 VAHS Annual General Meeting will be held prior to the 11 May seminar, at 4.45, in room 304 of the IHR.

5 March 2015 The Department of Politics and Public Policy at De Montfort University has extended their application deadline for a full PhD studentship on urban crisis, austerity governance and/or resistance to 30 March 2015. For more information, click here.

27 February 2015 Professor Pat Thane of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London is seeking a post-doc to assist with a project entitled ‘The First Fifty Years of the of the Child Poverty Action Group, 1965-2015’, starting 1 April 2015. For more information, download the job advert.

25 February 2015 Seminar series updated! Find new speakers and dates here. Also, podcast links updated here.

19 February 2015 Save the date! VSSN has recently announced dates for its 2015 events. On 12 May 2015, a day seminar will be held in Manchester on ‘TIME, TIME, TIME? Volunteers and volunteering in a challenging environment for voluntary action‘. The date of the NCVO/VSSN/IVR Annual Conference is 8–9 September 2015, and on 26 November 2015 a day seminar will be held in London on ‘CAMPAIGNING AND ADVOCACY: Has the voluntary sector lost its voice?’ (more details to come).

18 February 2015 Nottingham CVS is seeking volunteers for their Heritage Lottery-funded project, ‘The problem of the poor?’ For anyone interested in helping, information is available on being a heritage volunteer or heritage buddy via these links or on the Nottingham CVS website.

3 February 2015 In this month’s blog post, Colin Rochester introduces a journal which will take the study of voluntary action in a new direction.  Read it here.

26 January 2015 The Archives and Records Association opens nominations for its Archive Volunteering Award. Now in its sixth year, this award is designed to celebrate the contribution of volunteers within the archive sector and to promote good practice in volunteering. For more information and nomination forms, click here.

22 January 2015 Nottingham CVS has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a history project that will explore the birth of social action in Nottingham. For further details, click here.

9 January 2015 Ruth Lister will be presenting a British Academy Lecture, ‘To count for nothing’: Poverty beyond the statistics, on Thursday 5 February at 6pm. For more information, click here.

9 January 2015 Teaching Voluntary History has created a blog for their upcoming one-day workshop, to be held 28 February 2015 at Queen Mary University of London. For more information, click here.

9 January 2015 The Housing Studies Association has recently released a Call for Papers for their 2015 conference, entitled ‘Housing the Generations.’ To view the CfP, click here.

18 December 2014  In this month’s feature blog post, Rhodri Davies of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) uncovers the historical trends behind the present culture of philanthropy in the City of London.  Take a look here.

20 November 2014 Dr. Frank Prochaska recently gave the inaugural annual lecture, entitled ‘The State of Charity’, for the Charity Commission which can be found here. It was also published in November’s issue of Standpoint.

14 November 2014 NCVO has a consultancy opportunity to conduct a high level audit of NCVO’s archive at the London Metropolitan Archives to shed light on its size, scope, condition, and historical and contemporary relevance. The work will be undertaken between December 2014 and January 2015. You can find more detailed information here.

7 November 2014  The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has recently launched its Ebola Crisis Appeal.  In this month’s feature blog post, Andrew Jones places this appeal in historical context.  You can read it here.

29 October 2014 A PhD opportunity in the field of volunteering, volunteer management and community/local fundraising, as well as other topics related to the voluntary and community sector is available at the University of Kent with Dr. Eddy Hogg, starting September 2015. Anyone interested in this opportunity should contact Eddy directly at

29 October 2014 Save the Date: an International Conference on the History of the Red Cross Movement will be held 9–11 September 2016 at Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia. A Call for Papers will be released in early 2015. For more information, click here.

29 October 2014 The ARVAC (Association for Research in the Voluntary & Community Sector) Annual General Meeting and Conference will be held Thursday, 20 November 2014, from 12:30–16:30 at The Circle in Sheffield. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Talking Out of Turn: Getting Community Voices Heard.’ The conference is free but must be booked here.

28 October 2014 The 9th International Conference in Critical Management Studies will be held at the University of Leicester on 8–10 July 2015.  For the third time running, there will be a stream on critical approaches to voluntary sector studies entitled ‘Exploring Civil Society, Voluntary and Not-for-profit organisations as a crucible for creative alternative, democratic imaginaries.’  Find the call for papers here.

15 September 2014 All welcome to attend the launch of two new Palgrave Macmillan books on the experiences of higher education students: A History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond, 1880-1980 by Georgina Brewis and A History of Foreign Students in Britain by Hilary Perrton on 29 October 2014, 5-7.30pm at the Institute of Education, London. Find out more here.

25 August 2014 The Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent, is recruiting a Research Associate.  Closing date for applications is 7 September. Visit their website for details.

20 August 2014 On the heels of our succesful Volunteering and Leisure Conference, those of you with interests in historical dimensions of sport will be interested to hear of the forthcoming Sport in Society conference taking place this autumn.

22 July 2014 Why were children with mental illnesses included in a nineteenth-century charity’s emigration scheme?  Steven J. Taylor explores this question in this month’s feature blog post.

21 May 2014 Mike Mantin shares his impressions of a recent workshop on disability history in his new blog post.  You can read it here.

20 May 2014 Victorian Cities Revisited: Heritage and History Conference will be held in Middlesbrough on 15-16 October, 2014.  Voluntarism and philanthropy were key to shaping the Victorian city and continue to play a vital role in the celebration of its heritage and challenging of its legacy.  Submissions from voluntary action researchers are welcome.  Find the call for papers here.

9 May 2014 In this month’s feature blog post, Ann Nehlin explores attempts by the Swedish Save the Children Fund to reconcile politics and humanitarianism during and after the Second World War. Read more here.

6 May 2014  Michael Weatherburn gives us a sneak peek of his upcoming VAHS seminar in our latest blog post. You can read it here.

5 May 2014 Marie-Luise Ermisch, winner of the History Workshop Bursary to attend the VAHS Conference in July 2013, has written a report on the conference.  It has been recently published in the Spring 2014 issue of The History Workshop Journal.

28 April 2014 The programme for the Volunteering as leisure: leisure as volunteering conference at the University of Sheffield on 4 June 2014 is now available here.

19 April 2014 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.  The Annual General Meeting of the Voluntary Action History Society will be held between 4.30 and 5.15 in IHR Room 233 (Senate House, Malet Street, University of London) on Monday 12 May (*please note the change in time*).  Members of the charity should send nominations for election to the Executive Committee to Sarah Lloyd (Secretary) in writing at least 14 days before the meeting:

14 April 2014 Peter Grant gives us a preview of his new book, Philanthropy and Voluntary Action in the First World War, and argues for a different understanding of the role of voluntary action in the war period. Read more here.

12 March 2014 This week on the blog, George Gosling introduces a book he will be writing to fulfill a new publishing contract and reflects upon the place of payment in the history of healthcare.  Read more here.

3 March 2014 Bridget Lockyer reflects upon Oral Histories of Voluntary Action, a recent VAHS New Researchers event, in her guest blog post.  Read more here.

24 February 2014 A new feature blog marks Student Volunteering Week 2014. Georgina Brewis argues that students have used volunteering to demonstrate the wider social value of higher education across the generations. You can read her article here.

19 January 2014 Sarah Mills shares her thoughts on the Scout Movement in our January feature.  You can read her article here.

2 December 2013 Our final feature article of the year comes from Jo Laycock, who looks back on the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Armenian earthquake and offers a story of disaster and relief at the end of the Cold War. You can read her article here.

1 November 2013 We are pleased to publish as our November feature article an exclusive extract from Richard Huzzey’s ‘Freedom Burning: Anti-Slavery and Empire in Victorian Britain’, published by Cornell University Press. Find out how the defining Victorian humanitarian movement fared after its calls for abolition were granted here.

19 October 2013 CALL FOR PAPERS: Steffen Werther of Södertörn University is seeking one or two additional papers for his panel on Voluntary Transnational Food and and the Emergence of Global Civil Society, which has been accepted for the Fourth European Congress on World and Global History: Encounters, Circulations and Conflicts, taking place in Paris from 4-7 September 2014. Details here.

1 October 2013 Edited versions of the two prize winning postgraduate papers from the VAHS’s summer 2013 fifth international research conference have now been published on our blog as two of our monthly feature articles. Our September feature, from her CGAP student prize paper, was ‘Institutional Homeliness: Charitable Initiatives of Domesticity in the Victorian Children’s Welfare Insitution’ by the University of Manchester’s Claudia Soares of the University of Manchester. Our October feature, from his New Researchers prize paper, is ‘The Influence of Disability Organisations’ by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Gareth Millward.

19 August 2013 Our new seminar convenor has written for the VAHS blog with a sneak preview of what we have lined up for our upcoming autumn 2013 seminars, to be hosted at the University of London’s Institute for Historical Research, which you can read here.

1 August 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: Our August feature brings a wide angle lens to a controversial issue at the moment. Photographic historian Michael Pritchard considers the worth of Barnardo’s extensive and historically valuable photographic archive, which is currently being digitised ahead of an uncertain future.

10–12 July 2013  Voluntary Action History Society 5th International ConferenceUniversity of Huddersfield.  Follow #VAHS2013 on twitter or see our Conference Storify.

3 July 2013 DEADLINE FOR PAPERS to be considered for the best new researcher prize. If you have been accepted to present a paper at our 5th International Conference and are a new researcher then please consider submitting your paper for consideration. See the New Researcher page for more details.

3 July 2013 DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION. If you would like to attend our 5th International Conference please register online via the University of Huddersfield Online Store.

1 July 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: Our July feature comes from Marie-Luise Ermisch of Canada’s McGill University, winner of the History Workshop Bursary to attend our international research conference this month. She writes on the topic of her conference paper: Oxfam’s Operation Oasis: Teaching British Youth about Global Poverty.

1 June 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: After winning the Economic History Society Bursary to attend our summer conference, Emily Baughan writes for our June feature on The Save the Children Fund, the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child and a Charter for Stateless Children, 1919-1940.

1 May 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: For our May feature, Carmen Mangion reports back for us from an academic conference in Germany on the history of deaconesses, religious women who were part of a transnational movement at the heart of nineteenth-century care and provision for the poor.

22 April 2013 We are pleased to announce the winners of our two New Researcher summer conference bursaries as Emily Baughan (Economic History Society Bursary) and Marie-Luise Ermisch (History Workshop Bursary). Find out more here.

1 April 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: For our April feature, Jon Weier considers the role of the First World War in the development of the YMCA – a case study that fits with the increasing focus of historians on the importance of charity work within the war effort.

28 March 2013 Provisional Timetable and Provisional Panel Sessions now available! We are looking for people to volunteer to chair sessions. Get in touch via  if you would be interested.

1 March 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: For our March feature, Clare Hickman of King’s College London writes for us on the National Health Society. She explains how this association of doctors and public health campaigners in the nineteenth century pressed for green spaces to make British cities healthier places.

1 February 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLE: This month sees the publication of Kevin O’Sullivan’s new book ‘Ireland, Africa and the End of Empire: Small State Identity in the Cold War, 1955-75′ with Manchester University Press. For our February feature, we have an exclusive extract on anti-apartheid protest.

16 January 2013 is the next Shut Up & Write session of 2013. Join us at the Bloomsbury Coffee House, from 12:00 for a productive afternoon of writing, networking, hot drinks and cake.

14 January 2013 VAHS Seminar, 5.30pm, Athlone Room, Senate House. Marcella Sutcliffe ‘A Liberal Education for ‘Citizens’: The Case of the Working Men’s College (1854-1914 ca.)’.

9 January 2013 is the first Shut Up & Write session of 2013. Join us at the Bloomsbury Coffee House, from 12:00 to start the year with a productive afternoon of writing, networking, hot drinks and cake.

1 January 2013 NEW FEATURE ARTICLELast year, VAHS founder Colin Rochester and voluntary sector researcher Meta Zimmeck wrote a review of 2011, suggesting hard times might prompt a return to core values. For our January feature they review 2012 and recall a timely yet forgotten report from twenty years ago. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Voluntary Action History Society. If your New Year’s Resolution is to learn more about the history of charity, campaigning and civil society, then we’re here to help. As well as our regular London seminars and our fifth international research conference in the summer, here on the website we’ll be bringing you monthly feature articles and all the latest from our new team of bloggers on the forum. And don’t forget you can sign up to receive all the latest blog posts by email, so you don’t miss a thing.

31 December 2012 is the deadline of the call for papers for our fifth international research conference. If you want to give a paper at our 2013 summer conference, you can find out more here.

10 December 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Claudia Soares writes for us on what Christmas meant in the Victorian and Edwardian children’s homes of the Wiafs and Strays Society. You can read and comment here.

3 December 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Janine Stanford updates us on the completion of the ‘Including the Excluded’ project to catalogue the archives of the Children’s Society. You can read ‘Disability and Children: The Children’s Society, 1889-1979′ here.

26 November 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Read Kate Bradley’s discussion of how researchers should recognise the place of voluntary action within the wider fabric of society here.

19 November 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Read Andrea Major’s discussion of why it is more problematic than we might think to hold up the prohibition of sati (widow-burning) as a ‘civilising’ achievement of the British Empire in India here.

12 November 2012 NEW BLOG POST: This week we have an exclusive extract from C.S. Monaco’s new book on The Rise of Modern Jewish Politics, which will be published by Routledge later this month. Read about Jewish Protest in the Early Twentieth Century here.

5 November 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Mark Wilson discusses the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ and its impact on the environmental movement. Read and comment now here.

29 October 2012 NEW BLOG POST: George Campbell Gosling reports back from the second ‘Making Connections’ transnational history workshop at Oxford Brookes University and discussing the concept of ‘epistemic communities’ as line of investigation for future collaborations. Read and comment now here.

26 October 2012 We’re seeking a new Publicity Secretary to join the VAHS Committee in December 2012 when the current committee member with responsibility for publicity goes on maternity leave. Find out more here.

22 October 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Georgina Brewis reports back from the launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives. Read and comment now here.

15 October 2012 A new Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives launches at the House of Lords today. The Campaign has grown out of concern for the neglect of archives and records across the voluntary sector. Read the Campaign’s press release here and visit its new website.

NEW BLOG POST: Ahead of February’s special seminar, Colin Rochester and Meta Zimmeck call for the history of sporting, leisure and recreational associations to be recognised as part of the history of voluntary action. Read it now and comment here.

10 October 2012 VAHS New Researcher Workshop: This one day event will bring together new researchers from around the UK to discuss the important issue of unpaid voluntary work over the last hundred years. For more information visit the workshop website.

8 October 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Ahead of next week’s launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives at the House of Lords, Alice Thornton writes for the VAHS blog about her experiences of unearthing one voluntary sector archive and why its contents have relevance for People & Planet’s work today. Read and comment now.

1 October 2012 NEW BLOG POST: Frank Christianson takes a look at how Charles Dickens explored the theme of charity in his novels. You can read and comment now here.

26 September 2012 New Researcher ‘Shut Up and Write’ session: Our VAHS New Researchers group, will be meeting at the Bloomsbury Coffee House in London from 12:00-16:00. Come along to meet fellow researchers and devote some time to writing with the focus that trying not to disturb anyone else enforces. Click here to learn more about the Writing Group and you can also follow #VAHSwrite on Twitter.

24 September 2012 NEW BLOG POST: The Chair of our VAHS New Researchers group, Anjelica Finnegan, explains what they have lined up for the year ahead. Read and comment now on Setting the Research Agenda for Voluntary Action History.

17 September 2012 The VAHS blog returns for a second year of weekly short articles sharing and discussing the latest research, developments and insights in the history of voluntary action. We kick off the second year with an overview of the blog’s first year from George Campbell Gosling, which you can read here.

29 August 2012 Invitations have gone out for the launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives at the House of Lords on Monday 15 October. The event is sponsored by Baroness Pitkeathley and supported by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, with much of the organisational work being undertaken by members of the VAHS committee and our New Researchers. Read more here.

13 August 2012 The first New Researchers workshop of 2012/2013 will be held at the University of Southampton on 10 October 2012 on the theme of ‘Voluntary Work’. Find out more about the workshop here.

6 August 2012 We are pleased to announce a new VAHS initiative: our New Researchers writing group. See here for details of what it will involve and how it will be run. Equally, keep an eye on the hashtag #VAHSwrite on twitter.

2 August 2012 We are pleased to announce the Autumn 2012 programme for the Voluntary Action History seminar at the Institute of Historical Research. Read the programme here.

12 July 2012 Today’s Times Higher Education features a letter from the VAHS’s Georgina Brewis on charity archives, which you can read here.

9 July 2012 Following the second of the two ‘Making Connections: Transnational Networks in European Welfare History’ workshops at Oxford Brookes University, you can now find reports from both workshops and more here.

18 June 2012 Over the summer we’ll be replacing our usual weekly blog articles with seminar podcasts, starting today with our first seminar podcast from September 2009. You can browse those we’ve posted so far and listen to them here.

14 June 2012 Our next transnational history workshop will take place on Friday 29 June at Oxford Brookes University as part of the Making Connections initiative. The full programme, complete with paper abstracts is available now – see here. The workshop is free and open to all, but you will need to register first with 

9 June 2012 To mark International Archives Day we publish a new post by Rob Baker of Blind Veterans UK exploring how archival materials can be used proactively to aid a charity’s current work. You can read and comment here.

4 June 2012 With the Olympic torch making its way round the country, our chair Peter Grant writes for our blog. He looks back into the history of the Games and asks: Are the Olympics worth it? You can read and comment here.

28 May 2012 With Volunteers Week 2012 (1-7 June) aproaching, Professor John Field has written for our blog on the student volunteers who worked with work camps for the unemployed in the 1930s. You can read and comment on it here.

25 May 2012 We are pleased to announce the programme of the second Making Connections workshop, which will take place at Oxford Brookes Uniersity on Friday 29 June 2012.
You can find the programme here.

The Making Connections initiative is a joint venture between the Voluntary Action History Society’s transnational histories network and Oxford Brookes University’s Centre for the History of Welfare exploring transnational networks in European welfare history.
You can find out more about the iniative here.

22 May 2012 Following yesterday’s AGM and various committee meetings, there are some changes to announce:

  • Peter Grant remains Chair and Meta Zimmeck is continuing as Treasurer.
    Sarah Lloyd takes over from Alison Penn as Secretary.
  • Jenny Harrow and Alison Penn have stepped down from our main committee. We thank them for all their work and hope to continuing seeing plenty of them.
  • Caitriona Beaumont and Kevin O’Sullivan join our main committee. Dr Beaumont has previously given as excellent VAHS seminar on women’s voluntary organisations and the myth of the 1950s housewife (listen to the podcast here), while Dr O’Sullivan works on postwar humanitarian NGOs and is an active member of blog our transnational histories network and our New Researchers group (see his VAHS blog article here).
  • Eve Colpus and Tosh Warwick have now both stood down from our New Researchers sub-committee following their very popular workshop on ‘Gendering the History of Charity and Voluntary Effort’ (see Kate Bradley’s VAHS blog article here).
  • Charlotte Clements has joined the New Researchers group. Charlotte is a research student at the University of Kent, working on postwar voluntary organisations.
  • Anjelica Finnegan of the University of Kent and taken on co-chairing the New Researchers group alongside George Campbell Gosling of Oxford Brookes University.

You can find out more about the VAHS Committee here.
You can find out more about VAHS New Researchers here.

20 May 2012 Check out our blog for a new book review. Dr George Campbell Gosling gives his view on Matthew Hilton and James McKay’s edited volume The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society.

13 May 2012 For our weekly blog article, Michael Weatherburn reports back from this year’s European Social Science and History Conference in Glasgow. Find out about some of the latest research in the history of co-operatives, workhouses and industrial voluntarism here.

7 May 2012 Oxford Brookes University’s Centre for the History of Welfare and the Voluntary Action History Society’s transnational histories network recently began collaborating on the ‘Making Connections’ series of workshops. For our first blog article of the month, Dr Kevin O’Sullivan reports back from the spring workshop. You can read and comment on his Charity Begins at Home? Transnational Histories of Humanitarianism. You can also find out more about the Making Connections initiative here and the wider transnational histories network here.

30 April 2012 In the week that marks two years since the 2010 general election, Dr George Campbell Gosling takes another look at the ‘big society’ project under the Coalition (with a healthy dose of Monty Python thrown in for good measure). You can read and comment now on Charity and the Coalition: Whatever Happened to the Big Society?

23 April 2012 With a new monograph out now on Governing Post-War BritainDr Glen O’Hara once again contributes to our blog. This time we feature an edited extract from his new book, looking at how and why the Scandinavian model of housing co-operatives we so popular amongst British politicians in the 1960s. You can read and comment now on his article here.

Today also sees a new VAHS seminar podcast up on the IHR’s History Spot website. You can listen now to Dr Laura Balderstone’s paper on ‘Mapping Membership: A social and spatial analysis of associational activity, 1950-2005′ here.

16 April 2012 ‘Gendering the History of Charity and Voluntary Effort’ was the theme taken for our recent VAHS New Researchers workshop at the University of Huddersfield. Dr Kate Bradley has written up the event for our blog. You can read her article and comment now here.

9 April 2012 On Easter Monday, Dr Carmen Mangion writes for our blog on the Catholic women religious who pioneered palliative care in Victorian Britain, yet have been largely forgotten. You can read her article and comment now here.

4 April 2012 You can now read the report of our joint workshop with the Centre for the History of Welfare at Oxford Brookes University here. It was a stimulating day and plans are already underway for another workshop in the summer as part of the ‘Making Connections’ initiative into trasnational networks in European welfare history.

2 April 2012 Our newest blog contributor is Dr Thomas Adam, one of the US members of our transnational histories network. He writes for us on how we can use the concept of intercultural transfer, looking at the history of social housing as an example. You can read and comment on his blog piece here.

29 March 2012 We are pleased to announce that the History Lab has accepted our proposal for a VAHS New Researchers panel at their 2012 annual conference on ‘agency in the history of charity and voluntarism’. You can find out more details here.

26 March 2012 In the final week of Women’s History Month, Dr Andrea Pass writes for us on whether the Empire and Mission were in fact signing from the same hymn sheet after all. You can read and comment on our latest article here, and you can browse our various blog pieces related to women’s history here.

23 March 2012 For the latest of our seminar podcasts see here. The latest addition is Professor Nigel Goose’s seminar on ‘The historical georgraphy of philanthropy in England and Wales’, looking at what Charity Commission sources tell us about nineteenth-century philanthropy.

22 March 2012 After yesterday’s successful Making Connections transnational history workshop, we’d like to draw attention to three events planned for the autumn with calls for papers out now:

  • Proposals for ‘Community, Cohesion and Social Stability: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’ at Bangor University on 13-14 September need to be in by 16 April – more details here.
  • Proposals for ‘Nobler Imaginings and Mightier Struggles: Octavia Hill and the Remaking of British Society’ at Sutton House in London on 27-28 September need to be in by 1 June – more details here.
  • Proposals for ‘Henry Mayhew: Poverty and the Middle Classes’ at the Cross Street Chapel in Manchester on 23 November need to be in by 1 June – more details here.

19 March 2012 Back in 1991, Dr Frank Prochaska gave the very first VAHS seminar at the LSE. Today he becomes a contributor to the VAHS blog by asking a typical controversial question: ‘Is the Big Society Collectivism in Disguise?’ You can read and comment on his blog essay here.

12 March 2012 In our blog this week, Dr Mark Freeman makes a call for us to explore the history of the Settlement Movement since the First World War. You can read and comment on the article here.

8 March 2012 Would you like to give a paper as part of the 2012/13 Voluntary Action History seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research in London? Seminar papers are 45 minutes long followed by a discussion. With your consent, seminar papers (but not the discussion) are podcasted to reach a wider audience. If you are interested please send a title and 250 word abstract to the seminar convenor Marian Flint .

5 March 2012 This week Dr Katrina Gulliver of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich writes for our blog. She profiles the dissatisfied suffragette and charity woker, and globetrotting novelist Stella Benson (1892-1933). You can read and comment now on this extract from Dr Gulliver’s new book on modern women in interwar China and Japan here.

3 March 2012 You can now subscribe to our weekly blog via email. Just enter your email address on the right-hand side of the website and you can make sure you don’t miss our weekly short essays on the history of charity, campaigning and civil society.

27 February 2012 Gareth Millward gave our last London seminar on the recent history of disability activism. Today the IHR has posted the podcast of his seminar online and we have a discussion of the topic from him as this week’s blog essay. You can read and comment on Disability and Voluntarism in British Policymaking now.

23 February 2012 We are pleased to announce the programme of our two March workshops.

Gendering the History of Charity and Voluntary Effort is the first of our New Researcher workshops in 2012, hosted by the University of Huddersfield. The programme includes 11 papers from early-career researchers, an introductory talk from Dr Kate Bradley and a roundtable led by Dr Daniel Weinbren, Dr Julie-Marie Strange and Dr Joanne Laycock.

The Making Connections spring workshop will be the first event of the new VAHS Transnational Histories Network, organised jointly with and hosted by the Centre for the History of Welfare at Oxford Brookes University. The programme includes a morning session with VAHS New Researchers on researching transnational humanitarianism and an afternoon session featuring some of the leading scholars in the transnational history of welfare, including Professor Patricia Clavin. A fuller version of the programme will be made available soon.

20 February 2012 Dr Georgina Brewis ushers in Student Volunteering Week by writing for our blog on what student volunteering was like a century ago. You can read and comment on Student Volunteering Week 1912? now.

13 February 2012 Former VAHS Chair, Dr Pat Starkey, writes for our blog giving her take on David Cameron’s recent ‘problem families’ speech. You can read and comment on Problem Families: Past and Present now.

Meanwhile, another VAHS seminar is now available as an audio-podcast via the IHR. Listen now to Professor Berry Mayall’s paper on English children’s work during the Second World War.

6 February 2012 For our first blog essay of LGBT History Month, Dr Robert Howes writes for us on the role voluntary associations have played in the gay community since the 1960s. You can read and comment on Voluntary Action and the LGBT Movement now.

2 February 2012 The ‘Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives’ was officially launched at a meeting at the British Library yesterday. A coalition of voluntary organisations, archives/libraries and researchers will work to raise the profile of the issue. The campaign gets a boost today in a piece for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network by Georgina Brewis. Read it here: Wanted: Champions to safeguard the archives of our charities

31 January 2012 The University of Huddersfield has awarded VAHS New Researchersadditional funding for their upcoming workshop on ‘gendering the history of charity and voluntary effort’ this March. This means there will be some funds towards the travel costs of speakers. So, if you’d like to give a paper at this workshop, don’t forget to get your proposal in by the deadline this Friday. See the event page for more details.

30 January 2012 Dr Graham Smith, Chair of the Oral History Society, writes for our blog this week about a new international network set up to record and engage with the occupy protest movements around the world. You can read and comment on Occupy Oral History: Documenting History in the Making now.

23 January 2012 For our blog this week, Dr Kirsten Jarrett reviews Ada Chesterton’s 1926 account of two weeks living as a destitute woman in the capital. You can read and comment on In Darkest London: Investigating Destitution in the 1920s now.

20 January 2012 We are pleased to announce of details of the first event of our new transnational histories network. Professor Virginia Crossman will be hosting two workshops this year at Oxford Brookes University. The first will be on Wednesday 21 March. For more details see the Making Connections page of this website.

16 January 2012 Last year saw the first screening of Ken Loach’s controversial 1969 Save The Children documentary. For our blog this week Dr Leo Enticknap explores the ethical and archival issues around this case in Saving the Image of Save The Children.

9 January 2012 The case for a transnational approach to the history of voluntary action is made in our blog this week by Dr George Campbell Gosling and Dr Melanie Oppenheimer. This ties in with our new transnational histories network. If this is an area of reseach that interests you then you can read and comment on Transnational Histories of Voluntary Action now.

2 January 2012 As we start the new year, Colin Rochester and Meta Zimmeck consider for our blog the past year of challenges the voluntary sector and what the coming year might hold. You can read and comment on That Was The Year That Was: Farewell to 2011!now.

28 December 2011 We are pleased to announce the new members of VAHS New Researchers for 2012. In an open letter, the new chair of the group, Dr George Campbell Gosling, announces the new line up that will continue to promote postgraduate and early career research into the history of charity and civil society. For more information on the group and its activities, see the new researchers section of this website.

27 December 2011 The final part of Professor Hugh Cunningham’s series for BBC Radio 4 on the history of philanthropy was broadcast last night. You can listen now on the iplayer to The Two New Philanthropies and get more information and hear the whole series here. Have your say by reading and commenting on Professor Cunningham’s blog piece for us: How New is the New Philanthropy?

26 December 2011 The second part of our blog’s festive double bill is now available to read and comment on. Dr Andrea Pass examines what Christmas was like for missionary women in Carols and Curry? Christmas in the Indian Mission Field. You can also read Kathleen Vongsathorn’s discussion of the importance of Christmas celebrations at a mission leprosy settlement in Uganda.

22 December 2011 Episode 2 of Hugh Cunningham’s BBC Radio 4 series on the history of philanthropy is available to listen to on the iplayer. You can hear Victorian Philanthropy and Its Crtitics and you can read and comment his blog piece for us: How New is the New Philanthropy?

19 December 2011 In the first of our blog’s Christmas in the Missions double-bill, Kathleen Vongsathorn considers the social, religious, and charitable importance of Christmas celebrations at a mission leprosy settlement in Uganda.

15 December 2011 A conference will be held at Bangor University in September 2012 on ‘Community, Cohesion and Social Stability: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’. The call for papers is out now. For more details see the event page on this website.

13 December 2011 Professor Hugh Cunningham’s BBC Radio 4 series ‘How New is the New Philanthropy?’ began last night and is available to listen to via the BBC iplayer. You can listen now and let us know your thoughts by commenting on his blog piece for us last week.

12 December 2011 Dr Eve Colpus writes for our blog this week on women in philanthropy, past and present. Also, a three-part series by last week’s blog contributor, Professor Hugh Cunningham, will begin on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm tonight, in which he asks ‘How New is the New Philanthropy?’ Read more in his blog piece and don’t forget to tune in or catch it later on the iplayer.

8 December 2011 Call for Papers – The first New Researchers’ workshop of 2012 will be on the theme ‘Gendering the history of charity and voluntary effort’ at the University of Huddersfield, Friday 9 March 2012. It is organised by Tosh Warwick (University of Huddersfield) and Eve Colpus (University of Oxford). Please visit the workshop page for more information and a call for papers.

5 December 2011 For our blog this week Professor Hugh Cunningham asks ‘How New is the New Philanthropy?’ His radio 4 series on this topic begins next week and will be on for the next three Mondays at 8pm. Make sure to tune in!

1 December 2011 Two new VAHS podcasts are now available. Our lastest IHR seminar podcast is Dr Chris Nottingham’s seminar paper on From ‘Cruelty Men’ to ‘Rottweilers’: The Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Child Protection, 1960-2000. Also available is a podcast of Dr Georgina Brewis and Anjelica Finnegan making The Case for Charity Archives at a recent event. Links to these podcasts and more are available via this website’s podcast page.

28 November 2011 Writing for our blog this week are two VAHS committee members, Dr Georgina Brewis and Brenda Weeden. You can read and comment on their discussion of the VAHS’s campaign to protect charity archives now.

21 November 2011 This week the VAHS blog features its first book review. Anjelica Finnegan gives her verdict on two edited volumes born of VAHS conferences: Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World edited by Nicholas Deakin and Melanie Oppenheimer and Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy edited by Colin Rochester, George Campbell Gosling, Alison Penn and Meta Zimmeck. You can read and comment on Anjelica’s Review: Beveridge and the Roots of Voluntary Action now.

14 November 2011 For our blog this week, Dr George Campbell Gosling discusses the relationship between the voluntary and private sectors and suggests historians should pay more attention to this ‘other moving frontier’. You can read and comment on Charity and Commerce now.

10 November 2011 Five days left if you would like to give a paper as part of the 2012 International Conference on Urban History’s session on ‘The Culture of Associations: Transnational Perspectives, 1600-2010′. You can see the call for papers here. Proposals should be sent to Professor Dr Norbert Götz of the Södertörn University by Tuesday 15 November 2011.

7 November 2011 Dr Henk Looijesteijn has contributed to our weekly blog, reporting back from an international conference on the history of almshouses he convened in the Netherlands earlier this year. Read and comment on Almshouses in Europe here.

4 November 2011 Dr Kate Bradley’s recent VAHS seminar is now available to listen to online as a free podcast via the IHR’s History Spot website. You can also read her blog piece on the same topic of ‘The Hoxton Cafe Project: Following the fault lines of community, welfare and perception’.

31 October 2011 This week our blog post is written by Dr Chris Nottingham and examines the changing perceptions of child protection officers in Scotland. Read and comment on From ‘Cruelty Men’ to ‘Rottweilers’ here.

24 October 2011 New week, new blog post! Dr Glen O’Hara offers his thoughts on the Coalition government’s approach to charity and civic participation. Read and comment on The ‘Big Society’ and the Challenges of History here.

We have now announced our seminar programme for the 2012 spring and summer terms. We have speakers lined up to address topics as diverse as disability campaign groups, preschools for Aboriginal children and medieval alms for the poor. You can find our full 2011/2012 seminar programme here.

17 October 2011 Transnational Histories of Voluntary Action Network launched. The history of voluntary action is a particularly rich field for transnational and comparative history. The VAHS is looking to set up an international network on this theme. We would like to find historians interested in this topic to cooperate with us on workshops, conferences and a networking bid. Read more.

Ahead of her seminar for us next week, Dr Kate Bradley of the University of Kent writes for our blog. Both the blog piece and the seminar paper are on the topic of 1960s youth work. Read and comment on ‘The Hoxton Cafe Project: Following the fault lines of community, welfare and perception’ here.

The audio-podcast of our last seminar is now up on the IHR History SPOT website. Listen now to Sarah Flew’s ‘Two Tier Philanthropy’ on the Bishop of London’s Fund, 1863-1914. Or find out about all our podcasts here.

10 October 2011 Our autumn seminar series starts today at the IHR in London. Our first seminar is from Open University research student Sarah Flew on the topic of ‘Two Tier Philanthropy: the Philanthropists who funded the Bishop of London’s Fund and the work that the Fund financed, 1863 to 1914′. Find out more about Sarah’s research and this topic by reading her contribution to our blog, ‘Money, Money, Money’ here.

Our weekly blog posting features a discussion of small archives in the voluntary sector and recommends researchers making use of the DANGO online database. Read and comment on Gareth Millward‘s ‘What is an archive?’ here.

4 October 2011 Two new podcasts are now available of the keynote papers from the VAHS Fourth Research Conference. Emeritus Professor Hugh Cunningham (University of Kent) talks on ‘From benevolence to philanthropy, 1700-1900’ and Professor Clare Midgley (Sheffield Hallam University) gives an address entitled ‘A transoceanic web of reformers in the age of empire’. Listen here.

3 October 2011 Next week the autumn programme of our seminar series begins at the IHR in London. Sarah Flew will be kicking off with her paper on the funding of Victorian and Edwardian philanthropy. Ahead of this she has written about this topic for our blog. Read ‘Money, Money, Money’ and comment here.

26 September 2011 Dr Georgina Brewis reports back from her tour of historic sites in London for Open House 2011 in our blog. Read it and comment here.

19 September 2011 Janine Stanford of The Children’s Society writes about their exciting new archiving project, ‘Including the Excluded’, in the latest contribution to our blog. Read and comment on it here.

A report of our New Researchers workshop in Cambridge on ‘Charity and the City: Medieval to Modern’ was published in Wellcome History, issue 46 (pages 18-19). Read it here.

12 September 2011 New blog post: Colin Rochester and Meta Zimmeck argue that New Labour’s ‘compact’ with the voluntary sector has failed and examine why. Read and comment on ‘The Compact: We’ve lost it!’ here.

5 September 2011 New blog post on ‘Voluntarism, healthcare and the state in twentieth-century Britian and Ireland’ by George Campbell Gosling. Read and comment on this post here.

26 August 2011 The edited collection of papers from our 2008 conference, Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action, has been reviewed by Fiona Poland of the University of East Anglia in the ARVAC bulletin. Read the review here. For more information on the book see Sussex Academic Press.

23 August 2011 New blog post on Business archives and voluntary action. Read and comment on the post by Tosh Warwick from the University of Huddersfield here.

8 August 2011 Exclusive 20% discount from Oxford University Press/British Academy. VAHS is delighted to welcome a new book on voluntary action history The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society edited by Matthew Hilton and James McKay. This book provides the historical background to the rise of the Big Society. Voluntarism has evolved over the last hundred years to adapt to changing circumstances, drawing up new agendas, tackling old problems, and acting as an alternative to state provision and as a catalyst for further government action.

The publishers are pleased to offer VAHS supporters a discount. Visit the OUP website to get a copy for £11.99 (was £14.99). Add the book to the shopping basket and enter the code AAFLY5 in the promotional code box. For further information on this offer, please contact 

8 July 2011 New blog post. Read and comment on our post by Georgina Brewis here: ‘Voluntary sector archives: A hidden casuality of the cuts?’

27 June 2011 VAHS launches a new blog today. Read and comment on our first post by George Campbell Gosling here: ‘What is the big society and why should historians care?

21 June 2011 VAHS is now on twitter! Follow our tweets here.

5 June 2011 The British Records Association is running a training day on ‘Big Societies and Big Challenges: Charity archives in a changing world’ on 11 July 2011. VAHS Publicity Secretary Georgina Brewis will be speaking. Find out more here. Download the programme and booking form here.

31 May 2011 The Voluntary Action History Seminar and our podcasts are profiled in the latest edition of the IHR’s magazine Past and Future. Follow this link to read the article on page 14 by outgoing Seminar Convenor George Campbell Gosling.

20 April 2011 On monday we celebrated 20 years of the Voluntary Action History Society at a well-attended event at the London School of Economics. Bernard Harris and Melanie Oppenheimer gave presentations, Nicholas Deakin launched two new books and Justin Davis Smith recalled the early days of VAHS. You can view the photo album online here.

31 March 2011 New books on voluntary action history published! We are delighted that Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy edited by VAHS committee members Colin Rochester, George Campell Gosling, Alison Penn & Meta Zimmeck has now been published by Sussex Academic Press. You can order a copy here

A half price discount flyer for Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World is available until the end of April 2011. The book contains new articles by writers including Nicholas Deakin, Jose Harris, Frank Prochaska and Pat Thane. Download a flyer here here

23 January 2011 We are delighted that Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World edited by Melanie Oppenheimer and Nicholas Deakin has now been published by Manchester University Press. We will be launching this book at an event in partnership with the Department of Social Policy at the LSE on 18 April 2011. More information about the book launch

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