Practical Wisdom » Colin Rochester - Research Consultants  Obituary of Colin Rochester, 1942 – 2023


It is with great sadness that we are writing to you with the news that our friend and colleague Colin Rochester died on 16 February 2023.


Colin was an academic, teacher, practitioner, mentor, colleague, editor, author and thought leader with an independent and sharp mind. He helped establish and maintain key research institutions such as the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) in 1978, the Voluntary Action History Society (VAHS) in 1991, the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) in 1996 and the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) in 1997. In each of these organisations he collaborated convivially, leading with kindness and offering critical thought, bringing up the next generation of researchers and practitioners.


He was head of Cambridge House and Talbot Settlement in London (1978-1987), a lecturer at LSE (1987-2000) and later led a course at Roehampton University (1999-2007). He was Honorary Academic Advisor to IVR (2007-2012) and was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership of ARVAC in 2021. Since 2018 he had been an Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent.


To honour his memory and to highlight his spirit of collaboration, kindness and conviviality the four institutions he helped to establish plan to jointly organise a memorial seminar later on in the year, more news of which will follow in due course. In the meantime, we have set up a padlet page, for anyone who would like to share their reflections and memories of Colin. The page will stay open for a week, at which point we will send it to Colin’s family.


Jurgen Grotz & Mike Locke, the Institute of Volunteering Research

Angela Ellis Paine & Jon Dean, Voluntary Sector Studies Network

Ellie Munro & Bob Snape, Voluntary Action History Society

The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC)



IVR was set up in 1997 to undertake high quality research on volunteering. It started out as a department of Volunteering England, became part of the research department of NCVO in 2013 and moved to the University of East Anglia in 2019. During the last twenty years, IVR has played a leading role in applied volunteering research involving volunteer organisations, the public sector, private sector and the government.

IVR’s mission is to support and undertake high quality volunteering research to bring about a world in which the power and energy of volunteering and the difference volunteering and volunteering research make to individuals and communities is well understood, so that individuals can be confident and feel safe about their decision to volunteer and communities grow stronger.

Get in touch with us by emailing




IVR has created a series of short animations on volunteering for beginners



Volunteering for Beginners in seven and a half minutes


And if you haven’t got seven and a half minutes, here are short videos on

What is volunteering?

What is volunteering?


Where and how can I volunteer?

Where and how can I volunteer?


What difference does it make?

What difference does volunteering make?


What are the benefits?

What are the benefits for the volunteer?


What does IVR do?

What does IVR do?