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.

In 2019, Macc celebrated and reflected on 100 years since the formation of Manchester & Salford Council of Social Service, the first voluntary sector support organisation for the two cities. You can read about the objectives of that organisation and developments over the last century on this timeline.

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.

The Chief Executive of Macc is elected to the Board of Trustees of NAVCA, the national membership body for local VCSE sector infrastructure organisations.

2015 Due to budget reductions, Macc is forced to reduce some staff positions but does so through a voluntary redundancy scheme.

At the same time, Macc launches a major grants programme in partnership with the local NHS distributing over half a million pounds to local groups to run projects to reduce the social isolation of older people. Details of all grants are published under Macc's Open Data Policy, compliant with the nationally developed 360 Giving Standard for open data, making Macc one of the first grant makers in the country to list all its grants in a useable data format.

The Greater Manchester Older People's Network, hosted and supported by Macc, is launched to support the voices of older people in the GM Devolution agenda.

Tony Lloyd, the new interim Mayor of Greater Manchester, attends the third Spirit of Manchester Awards. The programme also sees the launch of Spirit of Manchester Stories, "a day in the life" stories of local social action.

2016 As part of the growing programme of Greater Manchester Devolution, Macc is a founder member of the new GM Devolution VCSE Reference Group, established by the sector to build relationships with GM Health and Social Care Partnership and the new GM Combined Authority. Macc also helps establish 10GM, a joint venture between local VCSE infrastructure organisations in the city region including Salford CVS, Bolton CVS and Action Together (covering Oldham and Tameside).

Macc launches the Spirit of Manchester Fund, using fundraising from the Spirit of Manchester programme to distribute as mini grants to local community organisations.

2017 A new grants programme focused on supporting mental health and wellbeing is launched again in partnership with local NHS organisations, distributing over £330,000 to local organisations. Alongside this Macc is asked to administer Manchester's Hatecrime Awareness Grants, supporting activities to highlight, challenge and encourage reporting of hatecrime.

Macc publishes the second State of the Sector report for Manchester, looking at the scale, reach, activities and relationships of VCSE organisations in the city. Comparison with the 2013 report shows that Macc has had a clear impact on the numbers of volunteers, the diversity of the sector's income and relationships with local public sector bodies.

In May, following the terror attack on the MEN Arena, Macc mobilises the VCSE sector to pull together daily updates of support and help available from local organisations and feeds this through into the response and recovery workstreams with public sector colleagues and the subsequent review. Later in the year, Macc hosts a national roundtable with NAVCA on VCSE involvement in emergency preparedness with colleagues from rural areas (flooding responses) and inner London (Grenfell and London Bridge attacks).

Macc is one of the main authors of the historic Memorandum of Understanding between the GM Health and Social Care Partnership and the VCSE sector. This is formally signed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester in a ceremony at Manchester Town Hall.

2018 Macc works with South Manchester Hospital Trust to develop a new programme of support around system leadership bringing together public and VCSE sector leaders.

Macc launches a new programme, SkillGivers, in partnership with Salford CVS to encourage employer supported volunteering.

The 6th Spirit of Manchester Awards is held at the Etihad Stadium with guests including The High Sherrif, the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester and, guest of honour, the Lord Mayor of Manchester.

2019 Macc wins in two categories at NAVCA’s national VCSE Infrastructure Awards: ‘Telling the Story’ (for Spirit of Manchester) and ‘Advocacy and Campaigning’ (for GM Older People's Network).

Macc launches HOUR Manchester, to build a network of local community support across the city through timebanking, mutual aid and the development of local community economies.