Sova’s story began in 1975 when a group of volunteers working within the inner London Probation Service got together to improve the training and support available for volunteers working with offenders and ex-offenders. They called the charity the Society of Voluntary Associates and over the coming years, their volunteering support spread across London and the South East of England.

We’ve changed a lot since those early days and have grown into a national organisation working across England and Wales. Whilst our roots in the criminal justice arena remain strong, with a significant amount of work still focused on working with offenders and those at risk of offending, we have branched out into new areas of work, supporting people with a wide range of complex needs.

Volunteers, however, continue to be the backbone of our organisation – and today we have an active national network of over 850 volunteers, supported by a paid staff team of 150.

In 2012, Sova were acquired by change, grow, live (CGL). Whilst we have remained an independent charity we now benefit hugely from working closely with CGL – sharing resources, co-delivering services and learning from each other. Read more about our relationship with CGL here