About VAP > History

Volunteer Action for Peace has its roots in the volunteer peace movement which was born out of the tragedy of the First World War. Read more about VAP's history here.

Volunteer Action for Peace has its roots in the volunteer peace movement which was born out of the tragedy of the First World War. A French officer Lieutenant Etienne Bach of the forces then occupying Germany realised the need for reconciliation. He co-operated with the local mayor. The organisation he founded in 1923, known as Knights of the Lord of Peace, grew out of the early discussion and study groups he brought together. The founder branches were in Switzerland, Germany and France. After the death of Bach in 1938 the movement was led by a Swiss, Gertrude Kurz until her death in 1972.

In 1947 the movement was reorganised and became Christian Movement for Peace (CMP). In 1953 CMP organised its first “workcamp” (an international group of volunteers working on a specific project). This became CMP’s main tool to create international understanding and community development. In 1974 CMP was able to establish a staffed international secretariat. The movement changed its name in 1994 to Youth Action for Peace (YAP) as many non-Christians were active including groups in predominantly Muslim countries.

The first activities of CMP in Britain were in the 1960s and the British branch ran a small programme of workcamps and exchanges with partner organisations and worked on issues of injustice and exclusion. After moving its base from London to Birmingham and then to Worthing, by the late 1990s there was a risk that activities would cease altogether.

In 2000 Cedric Medland returned home to the Isle of Wight after working for volunteer organisations in France and, together with his wife, Rocio Gonzalez-Medland, who had been doing the same work in Germany, set about reviving the organisation under the new name of YAP-UK. They reformed the organisation onto a normal footing with a constitution, membership and an Executive Committee including former CMP activists, principally Paul Winter who became Chairman and Nick Earle who became Treasurer. Cedric became Secretary.

In 2005 the secretariat moved to London to the home of the new Secretary, Nigel Watt. That year Nuno Doria joined us administering the exchanges and has now taken over the role of Secretary in 2007 with Nigel Watt becoming Treasurer and Cedric Medland Chairman. In 2007 we became Volunteer Action for Peace (VAP) because we invite all age groups as volunteers. VAP obtained charitable status in the UK in 2008.

member of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the Volunteer International Network Exchange UK
with the support of:
Volunteer Action for Peace, member of the European «Youth in Action» Programme

Quote of the day

« The organisation of the camp community was fantastic! The group was great and we bonded quickly, language was always going to be a tricky one, but everyone attempted English and Indonesian so it made the whole experience fun and educational. »

Kirstin D. from Thirsk

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