COVO was established in 1996 by Luisa del Vento and Angelo Piccigallo in the London borough of Islington and later moved to its base in Southwark. In 1997, Suzi Howlett and Helena Cantone joined forces and together they developed and established COVO as a Registered Charity.
In 2000 Chris Nembhard joined the team and COVO Connecting Voices was commissioned to implement a Play and Behaviour Programme in Southwark primary schools, as part of the SRB Single Regeneration Budget. Its success in improving children’s playtime behaviour brought it to the attention of Goldsmiths, University of London which took the decision to conduct an external evaluation of COVO’s work.
In 2005 COVO was commissioned for further work by the Southwark Play Service and in 2006 delivered enrichment programmes in academies and secondary schools to support young people at risk of NEET and students with emotional and social difficulties transitioning from primary to secondary school. COVO has also provided personalised learning programmes for young people at risk of failing in English and Maths GCSEs.
In 2007 COVO worked with Lewisham Education Department to promote the SEAL programme (Social, Emotional Aspect of Learning) among primary and secondary schools. COVO has also worked with Southwark Children’s Services to develop a self-evaluation toolkit and bespoke training to help 25 schools assess their impact on the performance of their students.
Between 2010 and 2013 COVO was contracted to work in a cluster of five PRU centres in Essex undergoing a period of change. COVO worked with teaching staff, young people and parents introducing and modelling new activities and child-centred practices designed to engage young people and cater for their complex needs. The project included an evaluation of the impact of the work on students’ behaviour and teachers’ practice at the Copford Centre, one of the Essex PRUs. A video was made of the interviews with staff.
COVO has also worked on projects commissioned by the London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Camden, Westminster, Islington, Hackney, Lambeth and Oxford.