The Conservation Volunteers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Conservation Volunteers
The Conservation Volunteers logo
Founded1959 (1959)
TypeSocial enterprise group
Registration no.261009 in England and Wales; SCO39302 in Scotland
FocusEnvironmentalism, volunteering, education and training
  • Sedum House, Mallard Way, Doncaster DN4 8DB, UK
Area served
United Kingdom[1]
Key people
Prince Philip, patron[2]
Decrease £16.7m GBP (2014/15)[3]
c. 10,941[3]
Formerly called
BTCV, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers[1]

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) is a community volunteering charity that works to create healthier and happier communities for everyone through environmental conservation and practical tasks undertaken by volunteers. Whether improving wellbeing, conserving a well-loved outdoor space or bringing people together to promote social cohesion, combat loneliness or enhance employment prospects, TCV works together with communities to deliver practical solutions to the real life challenges they face (until 1 May 2012 traded as BTCV - British Trust for Conservation Volunteers).[1]

TCV has a for-profit trading arm, TCV Employment and Training Services Limited, which generates profit to feed the charity,[5] (46% of income).[3] The company has various government contracts to work with the long-term unemployed, aiming to improve skills and qualifications.

TCV has 486 staff and works with 10,481 volunteers.

Its strapline is Join in, feel good.

Overall aims[edit]

TCV's vision is "We want healthier, happier communities for everyone".

The organisation's aims include:

  • Enabling people to make a difference in their lives and improve the places around them.
  • Providing opportunities and choice for people to improve their lives.
  • Local mobilisation to have a global impact (e.g. through activities to combat climate change).
  • Delivering social and environmental equality.

On a practical level, TCV enables 628,000 volunteers per year to engage in conservation work in both the urban and the rural environment.


The charity attempts to be inclusive and accessible to all, running a diverse range of activities across the UK. Many are focused around practical conservation work, but TCV also provides extensive training, work experience, and education opportunities. TCV's projects are varied and include community gardens, food growing projects, taking care of parks and nature reserves, tree planting and woodland management, dry stone walling and projects to increase biodiversity. Projects also exist to help introduce children and young people to the environment as well as those helping to involve people with learning difficulties in environmental activities.

Some of TCV's activities include:

  • Conservation projects
  • Green Gym, a programme to promote the health benefits of working in the outdoors
  • Conservation holidays, both in the UK and worldwide (ceased in February 2014[6])
  • Providing support to local community groups
  • Providing accredited training
  • Consultancy
  • Environmental education and waste education programmes for children and young people
  • Providing training for the long-term unemployed

Practical Conservation Handbooks[edit]

Between 1976 and 1998, TCV produced their highly acclaimed series of "practical handbooks" - guides to managing the countryside and green spaces. They cover a wide range of subjects, the titles of which are:

  • Sand Dunes
  • Hedging
  • Fencing
  • Toolcare
  • Footpaths
  • Tree planting and Aftercare
  • Woodlands
  • Waterways and Wetlands
  • Dry Stone Walling
  • The Urban Handbook

Some of the handbooks are still available in print form and are now available online.


The Conservation Corps[edit]

In 1959 the (then) Council for Nature appointed Brigadier Armstrong to form the Conservation Corps, with the objective of involving young volunteers, over the age of 16, in practical conservation work.[7] The corp's first project was at Box Hill, Surrey,[7] where 42 volunteers cleared dogwood to encourage the growth of juniper and distinctive chalk downland flora.[8] One of the volunteers present was David Bellamy, who went on to become a Vice President of BTCV.[2][8]

By 1964 the Conservation Corps had expanded its activities to include education and amenity work in the countryside. In 1966 it moved from a basement office at Queens Gate, Kensington, to new premises at London Zoo in Regent's Park. In 1968 the first training course for volunteers was held. By 1969 membership had increased to 600, and volunteers completed around 6000 workdays a year. The first ever international exchange visit to Czechoslovakia that year became the forerunner for the International Project Programme of today.

The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers[edit]

In 1970 the Conservation Corps started to operate under the new name of British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), with Prince Philip as Patron. In 1971 the local group affiliation scheme was launched.

  • In 1972 the Conserver magazine was launched.
  • By 1974 there were 3,000 registered volunteers and 57 groups had registered with BTCV.
  • In 1975 the BTCV Membership scheme was started
  • In 1977 BTCV set up an ecological park opposite the Tower of London as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations.
  • In 1984 BTCV moved its headquarters to Wallingford, Oxfordshire.


The organisation underwent a second change of identity in 2000, taking the initialism BTCV as its new name in full.[9]

  • In August 2006 BTCV moved to its present headquarters in Doncaster. The new "environmentally friendly" building features a sedum-covered roof – hence its name – Sedum House. The Scottish office is in Stirling and the Northern Ireland office in Belfast.

The Conservation Volunteers[edit]

In May 2012, BTCV rebranded under the trading name The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).

At the group's annual general meeting in November 2012 the members of The Conservation Volunteers voted unanimously to change formally the name of the charity to The Conservation Volunteers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Charity framework, text from governing documents of BTCV". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b "The Conservation Volunteers - Governance". The Conservation Volunteers. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Charity Commission. BTCV, registered charity no. 261009.
  4. ^ a b "BTCV Facts and Figures". BTCV. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  5. ^ "BTCV Report and Financial Statements (2009–10)" (pdf). Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Farewell to Conservation Holidays". Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Tidying up the Nature Reserves". The New Scientist. 26 February 1959. pp. 448–449.
  8. ^ a b "Bellamy celebrates 50 years of volunteering with BTCV". Third Sector. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Companies House: Company details". Companies House. Retrieved 9 July 2011.

External links[edit]