Roots of Empowerment: Lady Goodman’s Enduring Influence

As International Women’s Day approaches, we are reflecting on the importance of connecting and empowering people and organisations that define the work we do here at Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea. This day holds particular significance for us, not only because we join the global celebration of women’s achievements, but also because our roots are deeply entwined with the vision and dedication of our female founder, Lady Anstice Goodman.

Born in 1911, Lady Goodman’s journey took her from Bishopthorpe Palace to working as a nurse during World War II and later becoming chief welfare officer for the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

In 1969, her passion for community service led her to establish the UK’s first Voluntary Workers’ Bureau, with support from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. The inaugural year saw 78 individuals engaging in volunteering, orchestrated by a team of 21 dedicated volunteers working out of their homes. This humble beginning, fuelled by Lady Goodman’s organisational skills and commitment, has brought us to where we are today as a Volunteer Centre, dedicated to volunteering and community support. To this day her unwavering commitment to enabling and empowering others to help others while improving themselves echoes in the work we do.

As we reflect on our organisation’s journey, it is clear that the vibrant and diverse leadership we have enjoyed over more than half a century of collective effort continues to shape our path today. We are proud to have accomplished women actively contributing to the design, delivery, and evaluation of our programmes, both in day-to-day operations and in the oversight of our board of trustees. The commitment of our volunteers and paid staff to our shared mission is a key ingredient in our effectiveness, fostering a dynamic and inclusive environment for our clients and all of us working here.

So, as we approach International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the achievements of the women around us and in our communities – those who stand up for themselves and for others and those brave enough to ask for help

Together, we hope to continue our founder’s legacy of equality, collaboration, dignity and hope, embodying the spirit of International Women’s Day as we #InspireInclusion!

Click here to learn more about Lady Anstice Goodman and our history as a Volunteer Centre. 
Click here to learn more about International Women's day.