Toby was overcome with emotion the first time he pushed a trolley loaded with reading material, healthy refreshments, treats and toiletries around hospital wards for Royal Voluntary Service. Pushing the first such trolley to reach elderly patients at the Royal Sussex Hospital for four years, he was greeted with clapping and cheering. “If I remember correctly, I went back to my car and cried,” he says.
Royal Voluntary Service plays an important role in supporting older and vulnerable people in hospital and in the community, and our six-year partnership with them has seen hundreds of our colleagues give up their time to volunteer. But the coronavirus outbreak has made that face-to-face support for hospital patients impossible, so we’re backing the charity’s efforts to help vulnerable people in new ways during the period of social distancing.
In recent weeks, Royal Voluntary Service has built an army of new volunteers for NHS England – the NHS Volunteer Responders – to help fight Covid-19 and protect the 1.5 million most at risk, and others that medical staff feel are clinically vulnerable. But many more people need support and it continues to care for thousands more older and vulnerable people in the community, many of whom will remain isolated at home as we move into the next phase of the pandemic.