Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

A brief history of GMCVO

GMCVO was formed in 1975 as a local intermediary agency for the voluntary sector in the (then) new county of Greater Manchester. The area of Greater Manchester was created in 1974, when local government was restructured to establish new county councils in the major conurbations of England. One of the new authorities was Greater Manchester Council (GMC). Within its boundaries were contained the district councils of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. GMC and the other metropolitan county councils were abolished by the Government in 1986, but the district authorities remain. The population of the Greater Manchester area was 2.7 million in 2014.
 
GMCVO was set up as a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. Originally known as Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Service, the organisation was established to support the needs of the emerging county-wide voluntary sector and to develop district-based local development agencies (such as CVSs) where they did not exist.
 
In its first 10 years, GMCVS supported the development of agencies in Bolton, Trafford and Wigan - and also played a key part in the formation of the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People and a countywide network of victim support schemes. In 1995, the organisation took on a new identity, re-launching itself as GMCVO with a new mission statement: "to promote a thriving, effective and influential voluntary sector concerned with promoting social justice". Since then, GMCVO has developed a stronger role on regional issues, and was instrumental in the setting up of a new body for voluntary and community groups in the region - Voluntary Sector North West.
 
Currently, GMCVO has a membership of over 900 organisations and individuals. Each year, the membership elects a board of trustees - GMCVO's governing body. GMCVO's trustees employ paid staff to carry out an agreed programme of work and activities that meet the organisation's charitable objectives and are in accordance with the mission statement. Staffing numbers vary - currently around 30 - depending on the availability of funding. A major source of grant aid is the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), while other funders include the Big Lottery Fund and the Skills Funding Agency.