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In the mid 1970’s the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) took the first steps to establish a voluntary organisations council in Gateshead.

In 1980, a Public Meeting was held and a clear conception of an umbrella body for Gateshead was born.  In April 1981 Gateshead Voluntary Organisations Council GVOC was formed and a Steering Committee was established (now known as our Board).

GVOC’s First Annual General Meeting was held on 11 February in 1981.  Gateshead Council awarded GVOC a grant of £23,000.

Gateshead Volunteer Bureau (now Gateshead Volunteer Centre) was set up within GVOC in 1982.



John Haswell House was originally bought in memory of John Haswell (a former Gateshead Solicitor) and his pioneering work for the local community and the people of Gateshead.  GVOC moved into John Haswell House on 29 July 1989 and was officially opened on Friday, 14 December 1989 by Joyce Quinn MP



In April 1985, the Charity Commissioners confirmed GVOC (as Managing Trustees) of the John Haswell Memorial Trust and of the Reed and Watson Charity for Poor Children, and authorised the transfer of assets to GVOC.  The Millfield House Foundation also made a donation of £2,000 to be passed on to local groups.   In 1989, this led to the proposal (and agreement) to set up a small grants fund - now known as the John Haswell Memorial Trust.

The John Haswell Memorial Trust is Gateshead’s own local charitable trust, making available small grants to local voluntary organisations and community groups, to help fund a variety of community activity and equipment.

In April 2014 the John Haswell Memorial Trust, alongside The Lee Adamson Fund  was incorporated into the GVOC Grants for Groups. The fund is designed to be accessed by both new groups and more established voluntary organisations working in the Gateshead area.  The Fund is committed to supporting local groups that deliver valuable opportunities, support and help to the people in their communities.

Details about the fund can be found here