RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
TitleJesuit Volunteer Community: Britain (JVC)
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionRecords relating to the operation of Jesuit Volunteer Community: Britain (JVC) including minutes and papers of the Management Committee, annual reports, external reviews, planning and policy documents, finance, material relating to interaction with European volunteering programmes as well as records of volunteers, community houses, placements and community partners. There are also a number of photographs, a scrapbook, material relating to the 21st and 25th anniversary celebrations and material relating to the closure of JVC in 2014. The bulk of the collection dates from 2005 onwards.

A number of files in the collection are closed under the Data Protection Act - please contact the Archivist for further details.
Admin_HistoryFr Eddy Bermingham SJ, who had been inspired by the Jesuit Volunteer Corps programme in the United States, founded the Jesuit Volunteer Community: Britain (JVC) in 1987. JVC was a registered charity which offered young people aged between 18 and 35 a one-year programme of voluntary work and personal development, and a shorter summer programme for young people aged 17 to 35 along similar lines. JVC was a lay organisation supported by the British Province of the Society of Jesus. Separately JVC initiatives were also founded in Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland.

The programme's aim was to develop the facets of Jesuit General Congregation 32 decree 4 regarding 'living a simple lifestyle, committed to the poor, in community and with Ignatian spirituality as a foundation'. Volunteers lived together in groups of four or five in accommodation provided by JVC. In 1987 JVC opened a single community in Toxteth, Liverpool, for its first year programme. Over 400 volunteers participated in the year programme between 1987 and 2014, with many more participating in the summer programme. Communities were established variously in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Cardiff. There were never more than four communities in a single year, with Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool being the core communities.

The programme averaged 18 volunteers per year with the largest group being 23 in 1993. As part of their personal development volunteers participated in five residential events during the course of a year programme, starting with orientation and finishing with evaluation. The other residential events dealt with the values of community, spirituality, social justice and simple lifestyle and included a silent retreat.

The JVC offices were based at various premises in and around Manchester. A management committee, composed of around five members including at least one Jesuit, oversaw the strategic direction of JVC in collaboration with staff. JVC staff oversaw the day-to-day running of the programme including volunteer recruitment and induction, organisation and administration of placements, procurement of community houses, running of residential events and retreats, providing ongoing support to volunteers and maintaining links with former volunteers. Freelance community partners supported the work of JVC in providing guidance to the volunteer communities and facilitating community meetings.

After nearly 27 years of operation, JVC closed at the end of the 2013/14 year programme. A celebratory Mass and farewell event was held at Sandymount Retreat House, Blundellsands, Liverpool, on 10 July 2014.
Printed document
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.

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