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Protect your historical records, NCVO urges charities

Howard Lake | 30 July 2014 | News

The UK’s charities hold very valuable records covering many aspects of society and public life, sometimes going back well over a hundred years. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is calling for charities to protect these historical records, as part of a new project to archive charity sector documents.
The project, funded by the British Academy, will run for five years.  It will be directed by Dr Georgina Brewis (Institute of Education, University of London) with a steering group involving Professor Irene Hardill (Northumbria University) and Nick Ockenden (NCVO), and a Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
The project will focus in particular on preserving digitally key voluntary sector records that date back to the creation of the modern welfare state in 1945. It will help protect documents that chart the transformation in the the relationship between charities and the state.
Many charities are aware of the value of their history and record and some have taken steps to archive and protect their records. Indeed, some charities make considerable use of their archives in fundraising appeals and other communications.
Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, commented:

“This project is a timely collaboration between academics, voluntary organisations and the library and archive sector. Charities in the UK hold a vast wealth of information relating to public life and we welcome the opportunity to protect and celebrate this important resource.
“An archive showing the voluntary sector’s involvement in the welfare state over time will be very significant and useful for charities involved in public service delivery today.”

How to get involved

The project begins this month with a scoping study and awareness-raising programme.
NCVO is inviting charities to think about their history and records, including if they know where and how they are stored, and how the project could benefit them. It will help in collecting submissions from charities and promoting awareness of the new digital archive.
After that, NCVO will run a programme to assist voluntary organisations to recognise the value of records as strategic assets.
Image: old charity adverts, a Pinterest board by Mark Phillips


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.