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 their communities.
Our players have been supporting Royal Voluntary Service since 2015. Its volunteers have been able to support vulnerable people in their communities through the toughest of times - when they've felt alone, when managing a long-term health condition, 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 using Royal Voluntary Service support to attend life-saving medical treatments such as chemotherapy. It also helps 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 giving their time 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 online 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 our players will help Royal Voluntary Service to provide vital services that help people to get back on their feet and reconnect with their community. It will also provide 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 online activities, giving them the opportunity to take part in safe, accessible activities where they can make new friends and build support networks.
Joyce, who has used the Home from Hospital service run by the charity, said, "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."
Heather, a volunteer with Royal Voluntary Service, added, "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."
John also used the Home from Hospital service, and said, "I was so grateful when the NHS referred me to Royal Voluntary Service. I had no idea that the service existed and I couldn't believe that there were people out there that wanted to help me. Without their help, I would have been trapped inside my flat on my own. I would have tried to walk on my own eventually, but it would have taken me a very long time just to get the confidence to try. Royal Voluntary Service has helped me considerably."
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