Lancaster District Community Voluntary Solutions (LDCVS) was founded in 1972 following a meeting at Lancaster Town Hall, which accepted the recommendation of a steering committee that a “Council of Community Service” should be established.
Its objective was “to promote any charitable purpose for the benefit of the community in the Lancaster District boundaries, to promote and organise co-operation in the achievement of the above purposes and to bring together representatives of the statutory authorities and voluntary organisations engaged in the furtherance of the above purposes”.
For the first year, there were few funds and no staff or premises. The membership was, and still is, made up of representatives of local voluntary organisations. A member of the Executive Committee acted as secretary in a voluntary capacity and the LDCVS met quarterly at different venues throughout the district. In 1973 funds were acquired to employ a part-time secretary for 10 hours per week.
Work done in the 1970s included surveys on vagrancy, local youth facilities, ethnic minority issues and facilities for people with physical disabilities. A volunteer bureau was also launched. In the 1980s, LDCVS was instrumental in setting up and supporting new groups to meet particular needs, a role that continues to the present time. Groups and schemes established via LDCVS during this time included the Victim Support Scheme (1985) and the Lancaster Disablement Information and Support Service (1987). In 1988, after years of operating from different premises, the organisation moved into its’ previous premises in Trinity Community Centre.
During the late 1980s, funding was obtained to develop the work of the volunteer bureau and this led to a separate Volunteer Information Centre was opened in Sir Simon’s Arcade. A Chief Officer was appointed for the first time and the organisation enjoyed years of stability and growth.
In 2005, LDCVS was faced with some difficult choices including the closure of the Volunteer Information Centre, which the organisation was finding increasingly difficult to fund. At the same time changes were made to the internal structure, including the introduction of a management team. After a fairly turbulent two years financial stability and good staff morale was regained.
Funding for the core work of the organisation was, and still is, provided by Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council in recognition of the benefit provided.
In 2008, the organisation secured a 5-year funding package from the Big Lottery BASIS Fund, which enabled it to recruit additional workers in order to expand its’ Development Work amongst the voluntary sector. Since then, the organisation has secured funding from Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council in order to continue this Development Work.
In June 2013 LDCVS moved premises and is now based at The Cornerstone in Dalton Square, which is a partnership between Lancaster Methodist Church, Thumbprint and LDCVS. The premises is central to the town, accessible by all forms of transport and boasts a inviting community cafe along with a fully equipped training room and offices.
In 2014, we secured funding to host today’s District’s Volunteer Centre along with development support as part of a County-wide partnership between Lancashire County Council and ONE Lancashire.