Meta Zimmeck

Meta’s special interests are:

  • Volunteering, participation and social capital
  • Partnerships between government and the voluntary and community sector, including the Compact
  • Funding, including charitable giving
  • Effective programme delivery (planning, processes, evidence)
  • Local area studies
  • Housing and homelessness.

Originally trained as an historian, with two MAs in social history, Meta has twenty-five years’ experience as a social policy researcher and project manager of both qualitative and quantitative research. She spent six years as head of the Voluntary and Community Research Section in the Home Office and was responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of blue sky research, evaluations and policy briefings for ministers and policy colleagues. As part of her remit she helped to develop the Citizenship Survey; developed and managed the State of the Sector Panel; and carried out a census of mentoring and befriending in the UK. At Volunteering England she provided high-level evidenced-based strategic advice, including advice on its campaign to secure sustainable funding for volunteer centres, and also, as head of Secretariat for the Commission on the Future of Volunteering, she planned and managed the Commission’s extensive consultation (36 events and 1,200 participants). As an independent consultant she carried out projects for a wide variety of organisations including the Baring Foundation; Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University; Commission for the Compact; Cardiff University/Crisis/National Housing Federation; Finance Hub; Institute for Volunteering Research; LB Newham; NCVO; Richmond CVS; RSA; Volunteering England; and Welsh Government. As research manager for Carol Goldstone Associates she carried out/managed projects for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Charity Commission, Community Development Foundation, Department for Work and Pensions, National Audit Office, Office of Fair Trading and Social Research Association.

Meta is chair of the Voluntary Action History Society and treasurer of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. She also was chair of a tenants association and a board member of housing associations for over twenty years, including nine years as chair of Hornsey Housing Trust, a provider of culturally-sensitive housing and support to older people.

Meta has written a number of studies for practitioner, government and academic audiences. These include as editor (with George Campbell Gosling, Alison Penn and Colin Rochester) Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy (Sussex Academic Press, 2011); and as author (with Colin Rochester) The Case for Statutory Compacts between Welsh Local Authorities and the Third Sector: Summary Report and Recommendations and (with Bill Rushbrooke) Annex C: Literature Review (both Welsh Government 2013); (with Colin Rochester and Bill Rushbrooke) Use it or lose it: A summative evaluation of the Compact (Commission for the Compact, 2011); ‘Government and volunteering: Towards a history of policy and practice’ (chapter) in Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century (Colin Rochester, Angela Ellis Paine and Steven Howlett; Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 and 2012 [paperback]); ‘The Compact 10 years on: government’s approach to partnership with the voluntary and community sector in England’ Voluntary Sector Review (1) (2010); (with Emma Whittlesea) Getting to know your local voluntary and community sector: A guide to Area Profiles (NAVCA, 2006); (with Ian Mocroft) Central government funding of voluntary and community organisations 1982/83 to 2001/02 (Home Office, 2004); The Right Stuff? Creative Ways of Thinking about Managing Volunteers (Institute for Volunteering Research, 2001); (with Angela Evans, Susan Hutson and Robert Smith) Not Just Another Form: A Guide to Measuring Single Homelessness (Crisis/National Housing Federation, 2001); To Boldly Go: The Voluntary Sector and Voluntary Action in the New  World of Work (RSA, 1998); and (with Brian O’Callaghan et al.) Study of Homeless Applicants (Cohort Study) (Department of the Environment, 1996).

Meta has a wide knowledge of the voluntary and community sector and volunteering and a particular interest in how and why things work (or not) – the suitablity of policies and programmes, resourcing, timetabling and commitment from the prespectives of the various players – government, voluntary and community organisations, staff, volunteers and clients.


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