Volunteering Matters

  (Redirected from Community Service Volunteers)

Volunteering Matters is a UK charity focused on "the advancement of citizenship and community development for the public benefit through the promotion of volunteering".[1] It was founded in 1962 as Community Service Volunteers (CSV) by Mora and Alec Dickson.[2] In the 2018/2019 financial year, Volunteering Matters engaged around 20,000 volunteers through its hundreds of voluntary projects across England, Scotland and Wales.

As of 2021, the president of Volunteering Matters is Lord Freud.[3][4] He succeeded Lord Levy, who had been President from 1999, in 2019.[5] The charity is led by a Trustee Board headed by Anne Heal.[6][7] Its Chief Executive since 2019 is Paul Reddish.[8]


In 1958, Dr Alec Dickson founded Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) which focused on international volunteering projects. After leaving VSO, in 1962, Dickson and his wife Mora Dickson formed Community Service Volunteers, which focused on UK-based volunteer projects.

Elisabeth Hoodless was appointed Assistant Director of CSV in 1963, becoming the only paid staff member, since the founding director Alec Dickson (1914–1994), and his wife, Maura, were volunteers. Hoodless became CSV's Deputy Director in 1972 and Executive Director in 1975, a role she held until 2011.[9]

In 1995, CSV launched Make A Difference Day, billed then as the UK's biggest day of volunteering aiming to "create a wave of kindness throughout the UK - to bring people together…and help build stronger, happier and safer communities". Make a Difference Day also exists in the USA.

In 1996, CSV began offering Employee Volunteering Programs.[10]

Oonagh Aitken, who had been with CEO since 2012, became CEO in October, 2014.[11][12] She had led the organisation through a significant transformation which resulted in CSV becoming Volunteering Matters in April, 2015. [13][14]

Paul Reddish became CEO in July, 2019 moving from ProjectScotland.[15] In January, 2021, the trustees of Volunteering Matters and ProjectScotland agreed for both charities to merge.[16] The charities announced that the two brands would continue to operate under one charitable organisation. Both brands would continue their existing programmes and current volunteers and the people they support would not be directly affected by the proposed merger.

In June, 2021, Reddish rode 1000km by bicycle from Edinburgh to London via Wales with his father Paralympian Tim Reddish to say "thank you" to people across the UK who volunteered in their communities during COVID19.[17]


Around 20,000 people volunteer with Volunteering Matters each year from various demographics and backgrounds.[18]

Volunteering Matters pioneered the idea of teaching citizenship in schools – it became part of the National Curriculum in England in 2002.[citation needed]

Projects include RSVP, Active Volunteering, Choices, Sporting Chance, Sex Matters Too, Lifelines, Grandmentors[19] for volunteers over 50 years of age, Volunteers Supporting Families as well as befriending projects to assist older, young and disabled people.

They also have a journalist network through which journalists can volunteer their skills to non-profit organisations who need promotional help. Additionally, Volunteering Matters Action Desks work in partnership with the BBC at 36 BBC local radio stations. They broadcast appeals for volunteers, run awareness campaigns and promote Lifelong Learning.[citation needed]

Employee volunteeringEdit

In 1995, what was then CSV began providing volunteering opportunities for the staff of UK companies.[20] The programme has continued and now involves fifty UK-based companies participating in activities that include one-off team building days through to long-term partnerships with local charities and schools.[21]

Full-time volunteeringEdit

Volunteering Matters runs full-time volunteer projects across the UK, where volunteers are provided with accommodation and a weekly food and essentials budget.[citation needed] A full-time placement can last between 6 and 12 months, although it is sometimes possible to extend a placement after this date.[22]

Part-time volunteeringEdit

Each year Volunteering Matters involves thousands of part-time volunteers throughout the UK.[citation needed]

Institute for Advanced Volunteer Management (IAVM)Edit

The IAVM[23] was a training event held each year from 1998 to 2012 by Volunteering Matter's predecessor CSV.[24] A three-day residential training event, it was focused on raising the standard of volunteering management. The IAVM had an international faculty drawn from Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. Core faculty included Arlene Schindler, Susan J Ellis, Rick Lynch, Steve McCurley and later Linda Graff and Martin J Cowling.[citation needed] Guest faculty included Andy Fryar, Fraser Dyer and Jayne Cravens.

The IAVM was seen as significant by the sector for the impact it made on volunteering managers across the UK.[25][better source needed] It also served as a model for other similar training intensives including IAVMs in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA in 2000 and 2001[26] and the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management conducted in Australia and New Zealand from 2005 to 2013.[27]

Awards and HonoursEdit

Volunteering Matters was named charity of the year in September, 2015 at the European Diversity Awards (EDAs).[28]


  1. ^ "OSCR | Charity Details". www.oscr.org.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  2. ^ "Community Service Volunteers (CSV) becomes Volunteering Matters". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  3. ^ Kay, Liam. "Volunteering Matters appoints new president". www.thirdsector.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  4. ^ "Register of Interests for Lord Freud - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament". members.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  5. ^ "Volunteering Matters announces new President". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  6. ^ "Ann Heal Register of interests" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Meet Anne Heal CAF Trustee | Governance and Committees at CAF". www.cafonline.org. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  8. ^ "Appointment of Paul Reddish". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2020-04-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "The mother of 'big society'". the Guardian. 2010-05-26. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  10. ^ "Volunteering Matters Employee Volunteering Program". 9 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Kay, Liam. "Oonagh Aitken to leave Volunteering Matters at the end of June". www.thirdsector.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  12. ^ "Volunteering Matters chief executive to retire". www.civilsociety.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  13. ^ webvid.co.uk. "Volunteering Matters, Volunteering Matters". Third Sector Awards. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  14. ^ Behance. "Volunteering Matters". Behance. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  15. ^ Cooney, Rebecca. "Volunteering Matters appoints Paul Reddish as new chief executive". www.thirdsector.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  16. ^ Perishable. "Charities Volunteering Matters and ProjectScotland to merge". Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  17. ^ "Scot News Tour de Thanks".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "What We Do". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  19. ^ "How 'grandmentors' are helping young care leavers find their feet | Jessica Murray". the Guardian. 2019-08-06. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  20. ^ "Volunteering Matters Employee Volunteering".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Volunteering Matters Employee Volunteering".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "Full-Time Volunteering". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  23. ^ "IAVM (CSV's Institute for Advanced Volunteer Management)". www.idealist.org. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  24. ^ "February 2021". Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  25. ^ "February 2021". Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  26. ^ "February 2021". Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  27. ^ jcravens (2011-02-16). "Advanced Volunteer Management Retreat in New Zealand May 25-27, 2011". Jayne Cravens Blog. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  28. ^ "Volunteering Matters named charity of the year". Volunteering Matters. Retrieved 2021-06-09.

External linksEdit