Wales Council for Voluntary Action
Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) is the national membership organisation for the Third Sector and volunteering in Wales. It aims to make Wales a better place by championing volunteering, voluntary organisations and community groups.
WCVA provides services and support to frontline charities, community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteers, and represents its members views by lobbying decision makers at all levels.
WCVA’s membership consists of over 2,500 third sector organisations and is in contact with many more through national and regional networks. It can also boast many members from the private and statutory sectors who support its work.
In Wales, there is also a county level infrastructure body. Each county has a County Voluntary Council as well as volunteer centres. The equivalent infrastructure and representative body for voluntary organisations in Scotland is SCVO. In Northern Ireland it is NICVA and in England it is NCVO. The equivalent bodies for the promotion, support and celebration of volunteering are Volunteer Now (in Northern Ireland), Volunteer Development Scotland and NCVO in England. Along with WCVA, these are the members of the UK Volunteering Forum.
WCVA is a member of the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE).
WCVA was born in 1934 and known as the South Wales and Monmouthshire Council of Social Service. During the Depression, the Council funded district nurses at a cost of £100 a year, and supported co-op schemes to dig mountain coal and keep fit classes for women. In the following decades WCVA’s scope increased, and it supported the founding of organisations like Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and Disability Wales.
Since then, WCVA has promoted volunteering across Wales, launched the Wales Volunteer of the Year scheme, taken on the management of the Communities First Trust Fund and much more besides.
Projects and services
WCVA offers many services and opportunities to its members and the wider sector. These include:
3to3 – the online marketplace for the Welsh third sector, allowing charities to sell goods and services to each other and the public.
Recruit 3 – a jobs site devoted to paid and trustee positions within the Third Sector in Wales.
Volunteering Wales – a website offering volunteering opportunities and information and advice about getting involved in volunteering
Trustee Wales - a resource for those who have volunteered to take on the rewarding challenge of running a charity or voluntary organisation.
Intermediate Labour Market - The ILM scheme aims to reduce economic inactivity in the Convergence areas of North Wales and Regional Competitiveness and Employment areas of East Wales by investing European funds in organisations to provide paid work experience and training for people facing barriers to employment.
Gwirvol - GwirVol is a uniquely diverse partnership in Wales, for promoting, supporting and driving forward youth volunteering, led by the views of young people. WCVA provides the legal framework and administration for the partnership.
The Engagement Gateway - The Gateway aims to reduce economic inactivity in Wales by improving the employability of people who face barriers to employment and are furthest from the labour market.
Environment Wales - Environment Wales is a partnership in the voluntary sector, funded by the Welsh Government. Its aim is to contribute to sustainable development by supporting and encouraging voluntary action to protect and improve the environment. WCVA is the initiative's Administrative Partner.
Communities First - Communities First is a National Assembly initiative, aimed at regenerating Wales' most deprived communities. WCVA is at the heart of the Communities First programme through the provision of formal advice and training to Communities First partnerships, as well as managing the Communities First Trust Fund.
Criminal Records Unit - Established in 2003, WCVA CRU is funded by the Welsh Government to help voluntary organisations and regulated care provisions for children under eight years old registered with CSSIW gain access to the CRB service for free.
Participation Cymru - Participation Cymru is a partnership of public and third sector organisations that is managed by WCVA. It provides innovative training, support, information and policy directions in participatory approaches to citizen engagement.
Helpdesk – a free service offering advice and information to all WCVA members and the wider sector.
Wales-Africa Community Links - Managed by WCVA, Wales Africa Community Links sees voluntary groups working in partnership between Wales and Africa attempt to improve each other's communities and broaden horizons.
Sustainable Funding Cymru - a one-stop shop for funding advice and opportunities in Wales.
- WCVA website for Wales
- Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Registered Charity no. 218093 at the Charity Commission
- Volunteering opportunities in Wales
- WCVA YouTube channel
- SCVO website for Scotland
- NICVA website for Northern Ireland
- NCVO website for England
- Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland)
- Volunteer Development Scotland
- Volunteering England - part of NCVO
- European Volunteer Centre
- International Association for Volunteer Effort - IAVE