SVC's Birthday - 50 Years of SVC!

2021 marks the year that SVC turns 50 years old! Originally set up in 1971 as ‘Cardiff Student Community Action’, or CSCA, our charity has undergone many changes over the last 50 years, constantly evolving and setting up new ways to support the local community. To celebrate this huge milestone, we wanted to research our history and look into the impact that SVC has had over the last five decades. 

Here are all the ways that we’re celebrating our heritage this year: 

A Founders Tale by our Charity Founder David Smith 

The original founder of SVC back in 1971, David Smith, supplied to us an extract from his biography, explaining all about the period of his life when what was CSCA was set up and the events that led him to do so. 

The biography discusses the societal pressures at the time, such as anti-apartheid demonstrations, leading to student activism and in turn the creation of the charity. It also discusses the early work of CSCA and choosing to focus around the Adamsdown area, including setting up a youth club, a pre-school playgroup and junior youth club, as well as a local waste paper collection scheme and an adventure playground. 

It also mentions how the Adamsdown Community & Law Centre (AC&LC) was set up in 1975, the first Law Centre outside of London, directed and controlled through an active residents' management committee. The creation of this centre helped to improve and repair local housing, avoiding clearance of the area which the local authority planned to do at the time, which is something David described as one of his proudest achievements. 

The biography provides an insight into the early days of the charity, the community issues that were present and how they were tackled. 

The SVC Timeline 

Put together by Jonathan Jones, the Vice Chair on the current SVC Board of Trustees, the virtual timeline of SVC collates all of the research we’ve done around our rich history as a charity and allows us to easily document and highlight the key projects and events that have shaped us. 

Jon did an absolutely amazing job in displaying all of our milestones, with images and sound clips used throughout. The timeline covers the setting up of the charity including some of the early work when David Smith set up CSCA, right through to developing new projects, working with Cardiff University, becoming SVC, moving to Museum Place and partnering with Innovate Trust. 

SVC Virtual Exhibition 

Click the link to explore a virtual tour of our fascinating history! This virtual exhibition again showcases SVC’s many changes and achievements over the past 50 years, ranging from the initial student-run SCA to our growth in the 21st century. 

Our exhibition showcases some of the many projects SVC has organised, including the community work undertaken at the heart of Cardiff. You can access further articles addressing the growth, movement and direction of 50 years of SVC through the links provided in the exhibition. 

You can view the guide points or select a particular point by clicking the triangle symbol. We recommend making the video full screen or watching on the Artsteps app. 

The SVC Film – the Untold Story of SVC

Put together by USW student and volunteer Maisy Williams, the SVC film is a mini-documentary featuring clips from SVC staff and from interviews we've held, including from our founder, SVC managers and those close to the charity. Similar to the timeline, the film discusses exactly why the charity was initially set up by David Smith and the early work of CSCA. It also discusses the work of CUSS (now Innovate Trust) and the decision to partner with them, as well as the decision to move away from Cardiff University Students Union and rebrand as SVC. 

As well as this, the film provides an amazing overview of all the work SVC has done over the last 50 years for the community, both past and present, with plenty of clips, photos and news articles to bring the story to life. 

A huge thank you to Maisy for putting this together for us, and allowing us to tell the story of our heritage in such a fantastic and informative video. 

Cerys-Elen John Illustration 

Finally, one of our wonderful and talented volunteers Cerys-Elen John created this illustration, summarising all of our key milestones over the years - including how our volunteer base has grown, changes to our charity name or structure as well as of course moving to digital volunteering in 2020. A huge thank you to Cerys for putting this wonderful summary together of our history, which will be a great contribution to our Heritage Gallery coming soon on the SVC website. 

For more information about our history, just visit the ‘Our History’ section of our website.