The history of NCVO
NCVO started in 1919 as the National Council of Social Services thanks to a £1,000 legacy from Edward Vivian Birchall who died at the Somme in France in 1916 on his 32nd birthday.
Although there was clear evidence at that time of the need to set up a new national organisation to bring the voluntary bodies together and into closer relationships with government departments, it was only made possible through a legacy from Edward Vivian Birchall who died of wounds in France on his 32nd birthday.
Edward had played a large part in the voluntary sector in his short life and before his death he wrote a note (which is preserved in the Imperial War Museum) to his friend S. P. Grundy, which read:
'If I am scuppered I'm leaving you £1,000 to do some of the things we talked about.'
This legacy enabled the creation and sustainablility of the National Council of Social Services in it early years, which later changed its name to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Along the way NCVO has continued against an ever-changing social background, to support the sector and speak to government. Many now well-established voluntary organisations started out as projects within NCVO, including:
- Age Concern
- Charities Aid Foundation
- Citizens Advice Bureaux
- Community Matters
- Marriage Guidance Councils
- Standing Committee of Women's Social Services
- Youth Hostels Association
- Young Farmers Club
NCVO continues to develop new areas of work and houses independent projects such as Compact Voice.
Find out more about our history read NCVO's Work and Origins from 1919 to 1993.