Our History

LCVS was founded in 1909, when the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, H Chaloner Dowdall called a meeting with Liverpool’s vast network of charities to discuss creating a body that would help them co-operate with one another and with the public authorities.

Chaloner Dowdall’s action was triggered by a proposal in the Poor Laws that every city would draw up a scheme for a voluntary aid council. In Liverpool, the unique blend of the very rich and great numbers of the very poor had prompted a huge amount of public and private philanthropic activity. In reality, these charitable agencies were working in isolation from each other, from the Poor Law guardians and the local authorities.

A comprehensive study of Liverpool charities was carried out by Liverpool University lecturer Fredric D’Aeth, which convinced the charities that a co-ordinating body was needed. Interested parties proceeded to draft a constitution, which was adopted in 5 November 1909. Liverpool Council of Voluntary Aid was born.

Over the years that have followed, the organisation has developed and changed its name several times:

  • Liverpool Council of Social Service was adopted in 1933 as the organisation had developed into a charitable trust corporation
  • Liverpool Council for Voluntary Service was added to this name in 1974 in uniformity with the national CVS movement
  • Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services was taken in 2005 to move to a single name, encapsulating the organisation’s purpose and retaining the CVS abbreviation. This remains the organisation’s registered charity name
  • LCVS | United Way was adopted in 2010, as the organisation incorporated local charity United Way UK and became part of the United Way Worldwide movement
  • The abbreviated name was changed back to LCVS in 2015, with the United Way co-branding used with our corporate clients as this strapline: LCVS is the United Way in Liverpool


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