About: The Royal Voluntary Service currently works with more than 35,000 volunteers throughout the UK, many of whom are older people.
Volunteers have the opportunity to work locally and on a wide variety of tasks. Rather than being recruited to specific jobs, Royal Voluntary Service ask people to tell them what time they have to help out locally, what interests them and what skills they have, and then creates volunteering opportunities that are tailored to their volunteers. Volunteer roles vary widely and include visiting people at home, driving people to and from events, helping run activities, taking someone to the shops or giving them a hand in the garden.
All volunteers receive a thorough induction before they start work, and are given a named supervisor with whom they can discuss their volunteering experience and share any issues or problems they’re facing. They are provided with out of pocket expenses, and are fully insured for any authorised work carried out by them in a volunteer capacity.
Royal Voluntary Service believes that volunteering has a range of positive impacts for the volunteer particularly on their own wellbeing. A report commissioned by Royal Voluntary Service in 2012 from Professor James Nazroo and Katey Matthews, entitled The impact of volunteering in later life, found that ‘for each of the wellbeing outcomes there is a strong positive effect of volunteering on subsequent wellbeing (the decline in the depression and social isolation scores reflect improvement, as do the increases in quality of life and life satisfaction scores), and this effect remains after adjusting for demographic factors.’ Royal Voluntary Service often find that older people who are initially referred to them as potential service recipients are willing to become volunteers and find the role extremely fulfilling creating a virtuous cycle.
One example is Clive who lives in a very rural location in Wales and suffers from diabetes, which means he has limited mobility. He started out as a customer of Royal Voluntary Service’s Meals on Wheels service, which he still receives, but he now also works as a volunteer to update the Royal Voluntary Service Ceredigion and Powys Facebook and Twitter pages. He had been suffering from feelings of loneliness and isolation but feels much more involved with his community since starting volunteering. Clive has grown in confidence and recently spoke at an event in Cardiff about his experiences with Royal Voluntary Service. He is now planning to try volunteering as a befriender.
“Clive says that after Royal Voluntary Service had given him so much help he wanted to give something back as a volunteer.”
Who: Royal Voluntary Service.
Royal Voluntary Service (Cardiff Gate)
Cardiff Gate Business Park
Cardiff, CF23 8RP
Tel: 0845 608 0122