Audiences and scope


This project covers charity archives in public and private ownership in England, and addresses archives held and used by charitable organisations, as well as the archives of charities held in local authority archive services, higher education institutions and specialist repositories. The project will primarily focus on those charities, voluntary and third sector organisations that are directly regulated by the Charity Commission and that are not covered by The National Archives’ other thematic engagement projects.

The project will not seek to duplicate the work of other charity archive networks and initiatives and will seek to work in collaboration with these groups. The project also seeks to address the issues of organisational archives that are held within their parental body but are not actively managed or preserved.

While the project covers charity archives in England, the value of working with colleagues in the home nations is recognised, and opportunities will be sought for collaborative work in this field with the Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD), National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

A woman standing between archival shelving looking a book

Image credit: Leonard Cheshire Archive


There are four main audiences for this work:

Archive sector and networks

  • Established archive services across sectors
  • Emerging organisational collections
  • Thematic networks such as the Higher Education Archive Programme (HEAP) and the Business Archive Council (BAC)
  • National bodies, such as The National Archives, National Records of Scotland, the Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD), and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

Charity networks and groups

  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
  • Charity Finance Group
  • National Association for Voluntary and Community Action
  • Small Charities Coalition
  • Association of Charitable Organisations
  • Institute of Fundraising

Government and regulatory bodies

  • Office for Civil Society
  • Charity Commission
  • Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Fundraising Regulator

Academic community

  • Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN)
  • Voluntary Action History Society (VAHS)
  • Archiving the Mixed Economy (AtME)
  • History, Law and Archives Studies
A 1950s foster mother sitting with a girl and a boy on a sofa, teaching them how to read

Image credit: Foster mother teaching children to read (Barnardo’s Archive)