MACC was formed in 1981 as an alliance of voluntary and community sector organisations; seeking to challenge inequalities in health and social care. Since that time, it has evolved to become a specialist development agency which works with voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations and subsequently the main support body for the city's VCSE sector.

History Timeline 


MACC was originally a group of local organisations with shared concerns, not only about the quality of care being provided by the State, but also the lack of choice being offered to those in need of services. The group agreed to promote a multi-agency approach to planning and delivery.

From its early years, MACC worked by arranging public meetings to discuss aspects of care services. MACC was one of the first organisations of its kind in the country.

1981 "Manchester Alliance for Community Care" was formed to campaign for the closure of institutional forms of care and a move to a community-based approach with better quality services and increased choices for service users.

1982 MACC’s first Manifesto published.

1983 MACC produced a commissioned slideshow entitled “Independent Living”.
In partnership with COMBAT, MACC lobbied for a respite scheme for people with Huntington’s Disease in Manchester.

1984 MACC organised a series of public meetings to enable the voluntary sector to identify ways to feed into the joint planning structures which were emerging as health and social services slowly began to work together.

1987 Development worker appointed. This post, to provide policy information and support to the voluntary sector, was funded jointly by the Manchester District Health Authorities and the Local Authority.

1988 MACC conducted the elections for the voluntary sector places on the Joint Finance Committee and acted as secretariat to the new representatives.

1989 MACC was among the first to respond to the Government White Paper Caring for People in the Next Decade and Beyond which formed the basis of the NHS and Community Care Act (1990). This was a co-ordinated response from a wide range of groups across Manchester.

MACC’s second Manifesto published.


Now with a proven track-record of facilitating the involvement of the voluntary sector, service users and carers, MACC continued to develop partnerships at different levels in response to the way health and social care services are planned, developed and delivered. Increasingly, our emphasis was on two major areas of work:
- co-ordinating collective responses from Manchester’s voluntary sector
- nurturing projects which were developing good practice: (e.g. advocacy services, carers networks, etc.)

1990 Administrator appointed.

1991 MACC played an active role in informing the voluntary sector of the implications of the new legislation.

1992 Advocacy in Manchester (AIM) project established to identify advocacy needs and possible providers within the city. MACC commissioned a play entitled “All Upstairs” about the realities of community care. It was followed by a question and answer session between service users and the Director of Social Services and a Health Authority Senior Planning Officer. Disability, Learning Disability & Mental Health working groups established.

1993 MACC became an independent organisation and moved to its own premises (having originally been within Manchester Council for Voluntary Service).

1995 Manchester Elders Forum established.

1997 MACC was asked to accept a formal contract increased resources through Joint Finance Structures. Joint Planning Officer appointed. Manchester Advocacy Partnership formed to ensure a joined-up approach to developing voluntary sector advocacy services across the city.

1998 Voluntary Sector Mental Health Forum established. Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone was established. MACC represented the voluntary and community sector on the Partnership Board.

1999 National Service Framework for Mental Health published. MACC was asked to support the involvement of voluntary groups working in the field of mental health in local implementation of the framework. MACC became a member of the Voluntary Sector Support Agencies Network (VSSAN) – a collaborative group developing Manchester’s voluntary sector infrastructure.


MACC’s emphasis was on co-ordinating collective responses from Manchester’s voluntary sector and in nurturing projects which were developing good practice: (e.g. advocacy services, carers networks, etc.) Our long-standing relationships with the Manchester Community Health Councils came to an end as the CHCs were abolished during 2003. However, by being involved in the partnership work around developing their replacement (Patient and Public Involvement Forums), we have maintained close links with the public scrutiny of health services.

2001 MACC was formally requested by the Child and Family Support Forum to act as a managing organisation. National Service Framework for Older People published. MACC was asked to support the involvement of older people and voluntary groups in local implementation of the framework. Elders Forum relaunched as the Manchester Older People’s Network. Community Network for Manchester (CN4M) established with MACC as a founder member, taking “Link Organisation” status for thematic networks around older people, mental health, children and families and health and social care.

2002 Child and Family Support Forum Development Worker and Administrator appointed. Health Inequalities Pool established.

2003 MACC was a partner in the successful bid by the Black Health Agency to manage the new Patient and Public Involvement Structures across Manchester.
MACC facilitated a response from over 80 local groups to the Government’s Every Child Matters Green Paper on the future of services for children. Policy and Information Officer appointed.

2004 Due to a major reduction in funding for the Child and Family Support Forum, the post of Development Worker came to an end. MACC Co-ordinator appointed. MACC website launched.

2005 New funding enabled the creation of a 12-month post of Child & Family Support Forum Project Worker to research the contribution of the voluntary sector to meeting local needs.

2006 Following the city's successful Partnerships for Older People's Projects (POPPs) bid, MACC is running a two year project to provide "business improvement" support to voluntary sector organisations working with older people.

2009 MACC works in partnership with other local infrastructure organisations to bid to deliver the general infrastructure support service for Manchester's voluntary and community sector. Basing the project on the business improvement model developed in 2006, MACC is asked to take the lead role in the partnership and is successful in winning the bid. MACC carries out a recruitment drive to bring new members onto its Executive Committee. Alongside this, MACC undertakes a management restructure & creates the new post of Operations Manager.


Macc begins to take a more central role in nurturing and supporting a thriving voluntary and community sector which supports the wellbeing of people in the city.

2010 Manchester Community Central is launched as a new capacity building support support service for the city's VCSE sector organisations, is launched. This is designed as a branded service which can be managed and delivered by a partnership which can change and evolve over time but without disruption to provision for local groups.

2011 Manchester City Council begins discussions with a number of voluntary sector infrastructure agencies in city with the intention of investing in a single agency to co-ordinate support for local organisations. MACC's Board offers the opportunity to remould the organisation to form the basis for this, building on the model of Manchester Community Central. This is accepted by stakeholders & MACC is given the role of reshaping infrastructure in the city. The organisation marks its transformation by converting from an Industrial and Provident Society to a Registered Charity.

MACC leads on the submission of a partnership bid to the Office for Civil Society's Transforming Local Infrastructure programme. The bid is successful and, from April 2012, brings in additional resources to develop support for local groups.

The Director of MACC is invited to sit on the new Health and Wellbeing Board.

MACC moves offices for the first time in its history – to the third floor of the same building!

2012 Volunteer Centre Manchester is launched – a key part of MACC's new role as the main infrastructure agency for the city. MACC announces at a relaunch event in September 2012 that the organisation will simply be known as "Macc" - dropping the acronym but retaining the nickname by which the organisation is widely known.

At the end of its first year of operation, Volunteer Centre is formally awarded Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation.

2013 Macc continues to build the range of services available and launches the new Manchester Voluntary Sector Assembly to provide a voice for the sector in the city. The Manchester Community Central website is given a major overhaul to reflect these expanded services and Macc takes charge of the MyManchester.net website as a home for the new Community Reporter programme supporting the stories of local people about life in the city. The first "State of the Sector" report is launched by Macc - a comprehensive analysis of the scale and impact of the city's voluntary and community sector. Macc establishes a new awards programme 'Spirit of Manchester Awards' to showcase examples of best practice among the work of voluntary and community groups. The awards ceremony is held in the new Co-op Building (NOMA) and supported by a range of local organisations and businesses with the Lord Mayor of Manchester as Guest of Honour.

During the year, Manchester City Council re-tenders for the provision of the voluntary sector infrastructure role (capacity building, volunteer support and engagement work) in the city based on the expanded service portfolio Macc developed since 2011. Macc is successful in bidding for (or retaining!) this contract - consolidating the organisation's role in the city and providing a platform for further development.

Macc is accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

2014 Macc publishes a report produced with the CLES Centre for Local Economic Strategies entitled A Civil Economy for Manchester - a new vision for an inclusive, accessible economic model which capitalises on the strengths of the city's social sector. The second Spirit of Manchester Awards takes place sponsored by the University of Manchester and is just one of a series of over 70 events staged by the local voluntary sector as the Spirit of Manchester Festival.

Demand for support from Macc continues to increase. During the year, the Volunteer Centre supports over 3100 residents get involved in volunteering, provides hands on support to over 1200 organisations and helps raise over £1.8million for local groups through supporting funding applications. As the year ends, Manchester City Council announces plans to make budget cuts affecting many local VCSE organisations. Macc works with the sector to produce testimony, evidence and to analyse the impact on services and present this to commissioners and Councillors.