Royal Voluntary Service was formed in 1938 as Women’s Voluntary Services to help communities prepare for the coming war. Since then, it has inspired more than three million women and men to give their time to help address the needs of the day in their communities.
Players have been supporting Royal Voluntary Service since 2015 and thanks to this, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have been able to support vulnerable people in their communities through the toughest of times – when they’ve felt alone, through ill health and recovery, when managing a long term health condition or caring for a family member and most recently throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
During the pandemic, player support has meant that Royal Voluntary Service can continue to be there for the vulnerable people who rely on them for help. The people Royal Voluntary Service help are amongst the most vulnerable to Coronavirus – older people, individuals recovering from illness or a stay in hospital or using Royal Voluntary Service support to attend life-saving medical treatments such as chemotherapy. People living, or caring for those, with long term health conditions including dementia.
Last year, player support helped Royal Voluntary Service teams to deliver:
- 303,160 welfare and companionship telephone calls to vulnerable and isolated people, often lasting over an hour
- 16,247 essential shopping and prescription drops to people’s doorsteps
- 6,047 visits to people’s homes and gardens, providing vital face to face contact safely
- 8,139 patient and community transport journeys, including to essential medical appointments
89% of people receiving support from Royal Voluntary Service volunteers during the pandemic said that the support had helped them to feel less lonely. Volunteers benefited too, with 81% saying that volunteering during the pandemic has improved their mental health and wellbeing.
Royal Voluntary Service was also able to launch a brand new service to help people keep active and well at home – the Virtual Village Hall, an amazing on-line community where everyone is welcome, providing free activity classes catering to all tastes and interests.
As restrictions ease and we all look forward to reconnecting with the people and activities we love, there will be a huge need to support people to recover from the impact of the pandemic and rebuild their strength, confidence and resilience.
Support from players will help Royal Voluntary Service to provide vital services, including home from hospital services that help people to get back on their feet and reconnect with their community, and transport schemes that enable vulnerable people to get to medical appointments, shops and to visit friends and loved ones.
The charity is also running free community and on-line activities, aimed at boosting people’s wellbeing and giving them the opportunity to take part in safe, accessible activities where they can make new friends and build support networks.
"Volunteer Laura was referred to me from Royal Voluntary Service, and came to see me when I was back at home after hospital. She’s been so helpful in supporting me with the things I need. I was having real trouble with getting shopping, just to get food for the week, and Laura has taken me to the local supermarket to help me get what I need. It’s really nice to be able to see someone every week, just having a cup of tea and a chat with someone regularly is a really positive addition to the week. It’s just a simple thing but it helps to build your self–esteem and confidence.
"I feel more confident now being able to perform the basic tasks that I took for granted before, like getting food out of a cupboard, or getting some groceries." Joyce, home from hospital client
"I get so much joy out of the volunteering, taking the Move It Or Lose It! sessions into older people’s homes. We have such a laugh and volunteering is part of who I am now." Heather, volunteer
"I got the letter asking me to shield and I thought ‘What am I going to do now?’ I was so lost but then I remembered how much Royal Voluntary Service have supported me and I knew I’d be okay. Not sure what I would have done without them.
"I now get calls from volunteer Ron, weekly on a Sunday. It’s nice to have someone that is interested in me. He’s so friendly, it feels really nice and he is a nice chap. We are due to meet for the first time soon and I’m looking forward to it when we do." Eric
More than £13.7 million has been raised for the Royal Voluntary Service by players.