IVAC: promoting a thriving, effective, and influential voluntary sector
IVAC believes that
the voluntary sector plays a vital role in enhancing the quality of
life of people who live and work within the Borough.
IVAC exists to promote a thriving, effective, and influential voluntary
sector in Islington. It works at a strategic level, to promote the interests
of the sector and at a local level providing services and support to
voluntary organisations in the Borough.
IVAC works with people who are interested in developing voluntary action
whether they be from voluntary, community or statutory agencies.
IVAC aims to enable
an independent, well-resourced voluntary sector to provide good quality,
cost-effective services to Islington people, particularly those in need.
IVAC started life
in 1971 as Islington Council of Social Service (ICSS). The group was
set up with grant aid from Islington Council, after several years’
planning by around 120 Islington voluntary groups. From the start, its
areas of work included:
* Bringing local voluntary agencies together;
* Liasing with Islington Council on issues that affected the sector;
* Promoting the work of the Islington voluntary sector through directories
* Promoting volunteering in the borough;
* Disseminating funding information;
* Distributing a newsletter; and
* Offering practical services such as photocopying and room hire.
By its second year,
ICSS had 117 members and had supplemented its council funding with a
grant from the City Parochial Trust. Over the years its membership grew
and its funding base diversified. In 1978 its name changed to Islington
Voluntary Action Council (IVAC).
By the eighties,
IVAC had joined the National Council for Voluntary Service as a CVS.
Work had begun to focus on the areas which continue to be central today:
organisational development, information and advice, fundraising support,
training, financial services, and room hire.
Throughout the years,
IVAC has been involved in campaigning and development work on a range
of issues, including health, community care, disabled access, play,
local economic development, advice work, planning, transport, the environment,
black and minority ethnic issues, homelessness, refugees and asylum
seekers, and training and employment. Many local organisations and networks
have sprung from this work, some of which are still flourishing today
and are central to the voluntary sector in Islington. These include
the Factory Community Centre, Islington Disablement Association (now
Disability Action Islington), and Islington Volunteer Centre. IVAC also
supported the transformation of Islington Old People’s Welfare
Association into Islington Age Concern.
IVAC has supported
the Islington voluntary sector through thirty years of political and
economic upheaval, including the winding down of the Greater London
Council and annual rounds of cuts to council funding of voluntary organisations.
Gentrification of Islington has changed the population and driven up
the property prices, but has not done away with poverty and social exclusion.
New generations of refugees and asylum seekers have also changed the
profile of the borough: the most widely spoken languages (other than
English) among Islington schoolchildren today are Turkish, Bengali/
Sylheti, Yoruba and Igbo. The changing needs of the people of the borough
are reflected in the extraordinary diversity of the groups IVAC has
worked with and continues to work with. Today IVAC has more member organisations
than ever – 368 - and its work continues to develop into new areas
such as IT and health.
To download IVAC's
latest Annual Report, click here.