RVS focuses on building confidence, improving health and wellbeing and keeping loneliness at bay. It recently launched its Virtual Village, an online initiative allowing it to reach people in their own homes during lockdown. And when social distancing restrictions allow, it runs 300 lunch and social clubs, 100 home support services, 45 Healthy & Happy Lives Groups, 200 hospital shops and cafes and five RVS community centres.
It is a lifeline for many isolated people, providing all-important human contact as well as practical help. It makes a huge difference because the impact of loneliness on health is thought to be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and a recent study found that between 5% and 16% of people usually spend their time alone, many of them elderly.
Nigel Green, Business Development Manager at RVS, explains: “Through our services we can do very small, basic things that can make a big different to people. If people live alone and their light is not working or the batteries are not working in their remote control, our volunteers will go round and do some of those tasks for them. They are very small tasks but they make a big difference to people. We also help with things like fuel poverty and taking people’s dogs out and running exercise classes. We can offer very very tailored support in the community.”
Sara Heald, our Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, says: “We are investing in a better world through our inclusive capitalism strategy and we want to support those who share our vision of a society that works for everyone. RVS’s work to support the most vulnerable is more than just valuable, it is inspirational and is making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Despite the huge number of volunteers already hard at work there is always a need for more people who want to help their community… and many people find it hugely rewarding. Find out more about volunteering as an NHS Volunteer Responder, vaccination volunteer or RVS winter pressures volunteer.