Lady Reading believed her creation had found the key to reconciling voluntary work and state expansion. In fact the WVS did not provide a model for the future. The welfare state certainly enabled middle-class people to sustain their dominance, but as trained professionals rather than amateur volunteers. This was especially true for the middle-aged and often rather poorly educated women who had found so much fulfilment in the WVS during the war. By the 1960s, when renewed growth took the voluntary sector in new and more radical directions, the continuing selfless work of middle-aged women delivering meals-on-wheels or serving in hospital canteens embodied only an echo of the WVS during its Second World War prime.
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