From Chairman to Charity
1990 - 2004
It was at the very end of the 1980s, at the height of Thatcherism, that the Government began to question the existence and value of WRVS. For the past 50 years the organisation has been entirely funded by the Home Office but the evolving charity sector was beginning to offer to do the things WRVS did but for free.
However, getting rid of an organisation that was sewn into the fabric of society would not be easy. In fact the Government decided it would be impossible as they could not cope without WRVS, but change was inevitable. So, in 1992 WRVS became a registered charity; it employed its first Chief Executive, paid its first official employees and had an independently appointed Chairman.
The following 15 years would see WRVS face many difficult decisions but a turning point came in 1997 when, with the grant from the Government being withdrawn, WRVS started to transform itself from an organisation which did everything to one whose core mission was the care of older people and which fundraised for itself the first time.
"An extensive examination of its work has convinced me that Government support for WRVS ... is eminently worthwhile. "
Sir Philip Woodfield 1991