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Handwritten extract of a letter from Robert Davies to a friend. He writes about the arrival of Philip Nourse, a full-time Community Service Volunteer, as well as work with Cardiff schools introducing community service into the curriculum, and the Country Hostel project 'Family Service' experiment.


"... The full-time volunteer from Community Service Volunteers arrived last Wednesday and I took a half-day leave to meet him. He actually comes from Windsor and the Castle itself, where his father is some sort of chaplain, and he went to Marlborough College. However neither seems to be any disadvantage and I am sure he will prove himself well suited to the job.
Finances, I am glad to say, are now such that we have been able to fix him up with a good landlady (!) at £5 a week and can maintain the weekly 30 shillings pocket money plus 10 shillings expenses. So actually he is receiving the equivalent of £7.5s [shillings] per week which is not bad at eighteen!
Having managed two months without full-time help, all those who have worked on rota part-time are expecting to be suddenly relieved from their burdens. I am therefore fighting to protect him from being exploited. We have been extra busy in the last three months because of under-recruitment in the Police Force and the absence of a police cadet. Since last week we now have another. The Chief Inspector in charge is so keen that he is detailing them all to attend the main part of our Conference at the end of the month.
We are now working with several Cardiff schools which as a result of the Newsom Report are introducing community service into the curriculum. One for example has 50 pupils available throughout the term for one afternoon per week – it was quite a challenge when they first presented this to us!
On the Cwmrdu (country hostel) project – last weekend was a fascinating experiment. The Special Projects’ Fund of FOY (Fellowship of Youth) gave us a grant for a “Family Service” experiment. We selected one of the families of children who had been “broken-in”, as a result of the Family Service Summer Work camp. Basically, we had 4 volunteers to look after 5 children of a family of 8 children. We decided not to take unnecessary risks for this first venture and therefore made it one night only (early Saturday to late Sunday). It was just right. My only regret is that we did not start this at the beginning of the summer – when one gets genuine comments from six and seven year-olds such as “does milk come from cows? ... eggs from chickens? ... does the water go off at night? (Referring to the waterfall at the little stream) – one realises how much these poor kids living in the jungle of Splott really miss. It occurred to me in remembering their tiny terraced house; a family of 10 can rarely sit down together for a meal.
One of dilemmas I face in this VCS scheme is that work such as the above cannot produce statistical evidence. It takes a great deal more time and energy so that the jobs that do produce facts and figures have to suffer. Without statistics to prove an increase in work, grant-aiding bodies are hard to impress."

Robert Davies, who actively volunteered with VCS, UNA, and many other organisations, is currently VCS Honorary President. He founded Voluntary Community Service (VCS) in Cardiff in October 1964. The organisation's main aim, as stated in its constitution, is to promote any charitable purposes, advancement of education, and relief of poverty, distress, and sickness in the City of Cardiff. Originally VCS co-ordinated a team of volunteers involved in activities such as helping elderly people with gardening and decorating, running summer ‘work camps’ for children and young people. Its mission today is to enable people who are most disadvantaged to engage with rewarding volunteering opportunities, facilitating their personal development and employment prospects.

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