Councils for voluntary services and volunteer centres

There are two main types of infrastructure support organisations that exist to support frontline voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors in London. These are councils for voluntary services (CVSs) and volunteer centres (VCs).

Please see the map below for details on infrastructure support organisations in London.

London directories

Councils for voluntary services (CVS) directory

Volunteer centres (VCs) directory

Definitions

Councils for Voluntary Services (CVSs)

 

What is a CVS?

A CVS is an organisation that supports and brings together local charities and community groups. In London CVSs are borough-based, operating in 29 of the 33 London boroughs. Many (but not all) incorporate a local volunteer centre. Check out the short video above to find out more.

What does a CVS do?

Connects

  • Links local voluntary, community, and faith organisations with public and private sector organisations.
  • Brings together local charities and community groups through networks and forums, subsequently encouraging collaboration.

Supports  

  • Shares information, advice, and funding opportunities.
  • Offers training and development support for community organisations.
  • Supports the local voluntary and community sector response to major incidents, or specifically, in times of crisis.
  • Some CVSs support local residents and communities, i.e., through training, events and other services.
  • Some also deliver social prescribing services.

Promotes

  • Raises the profile of local voluntary, community, and faith organisations. Accordingly, this increases awareness amongst the general public, policymakers and funders.

Represents 

  • Represents and advocates significantly for the local voluntary sector.
  • Provides local insights and further amplifies the voice of communities.
  • Facilitates collective action to address issues specifically affecting the local community.

London CVS Directors’ Network 

London Plus facilitates the pan-London CVS Directors’ Network, co-chaired by Angela Spence (Kensington & Chelsea Social Council) and Vikki Wilkinson (Bexley Voluntary Service Council). The network meets quarterly. This provides a forum for collaboration, peer support and the sharing of insights.

Volunteer centres (VCs) 

What is a Volunteer Centre?

Volunteer Centres (VCs) are the ‘go to’ places for volunteering locally. In London, they are borough-based and usually work with local people and organisations. In most, but not all boroughs, the VC is a part of the local CVS but retains a separate focus for volunteering.  

What does a VC do? 

Connects

  • Offers a brokerage service, i.e., matching volunteers to local organisations.
  • Offers additional specific services, e.g., supporting volunteers with disabilities, corporate volunteering or, as seen recently in the vaccine rollout, mass volunteering.

Supports

  • Provides information and advice for volunteers and prospective volunteers, but also volunteer-involving organisations.
  • Supports the local voluntary and community response to emergencies.

Promotes

  • Raises the profile of volunteering locally, increasing awareness amongst the general public, and, significantly, policymakers and funders.
  • Provides strategic leadership on issues related to volunteering.

Represents 

  • Represents and advocates significantly for volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations.
  • Provides local insights and amplifies the voice of communities, volunteers, but also, volunteer-involving organisations.
  • Each borough’s VC will have a service unique to that organisation, in response to local partnerships and residents.  

London VC Network 

London Plus facilitates the pan-London VC Network which meets quarterly. This provides a forum for collaboration, peer support and the sharing of insights.

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