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Time on your hands?

In the early 1970s WRVS were trying new ways to attract younger volunteers within the 20-35 age bracket. A new initiative was setup, Evening Centres, usually run in existing WRVS centres where they led monthly meetings to help attract younger members to take on WRVS services in their spare time after work or study. As it is St Andrew’s Day on Wednesday I thought we would look at the work of these centres in Scotland between 1971 and 1974.

In 1971 London Headquarters established the Evening Members Department and corresponded with the Scottish Headquarters in Edinburgh to establish centres in the Large Burghs such as Dundee, Aberdeen and Adinburgh. Perth and Glasgow were not included in the original correspondence; the Chairman of Scotland presumed the exclusion of Glasgow was an ‘oversight’ but was later informed that Glasgow had already agreed with London to start a centre. Perth even before the centres already carried out evening work had recruited three volunteers aged 25-35 but had to put them in the Saturday Meals on Wheels round. They were very keen to find them evening work although there were very few activities for them.

Once founded Evening Centres in Scotland were a success, take Glasgow for example, in June 1972 a member of the Evening Centres Department in London visited to help set up a centre in the city it started with an organiser (ECO), two assistants and four members. By the end of the year the centre had 56 members with 20-30 turning up to regular monthly meetings and taking on services such as flower arranging, hospital visiting, nurses libraries, good companions and emergencies. Glasgow were also looking to the future of the evening centre wanting to expand into visiting residential homes and taking up public speaking to recruit more members for the endless number of house holders who needed a good companion.

In order to expand all these services more members are required and it seems evident that the ECO will have to take up public speaking! This may or may not be a good thing for WRVS, however, we are willing to try, and to this end have accepted an invitation to speak on ‘the work of the WRVS Evening Centre and the role of the volunteer within it’ to young people interested in the Community Service Section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s (Gold) Award, Start praying!

Glasgow Evening Centre Report 1972

There isn’t much information about the centres after 1974, perhaps a quest for another day is for me to research some of the other regions in Britain to find the answer. Watch this space...

Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 28 November 2016.

Labels: Evening Centre, WRVS, Scotland, Glasgow, Perth, St Andrew's Day

Reports from Everywhere - January 1966

This week we bring you Reports from Everywhere from 50 years ago this month.

Glasgow’s fairy Godmother
When Mr Rio Stakis opened a new night club in Glasgow, he asked his friend Jimmy Logan to do the cabaret. Jimmy agreed but would not accept payment. The outcome was that Mr Stakis gave Jimmy Logan a cheque for £1,500 which he is distributing to charities.  This has meant that within a year Jimmy Logan has presented a second van to Glasgow WVS Centre for use with the Meals on Wheels in the city.

Forget me not

A patient at the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Beaconsfield, asked WVS whether our trolley carried a stock of rubber bones, as he wanted to send a present home to her dog. We regretfully had to say that we hadn’t thought of that, but finally the patient bought a rag book, kept it in her bed for a bit so that it would get her scent, and gave it to her husband to take home so that the dog would know she had not forgotten him.

Milkman as go between
On Christmas Day an SOS came to the Centre Organiser of Worthing WVS after an old lady had left a note for her milkman saying that she was very lonely and would he please tell the WVS.  The milkman gave the message to the police who told the Centre Organiser who visited her and tried to arrange for her to have tea with a family who had offered hospitality. However, she could not be persuaded to go. She was visited again and it was realised that she was not really fit enough to be on her own. After getting in touch with her relations arrangements were made for her to be moved to a suitable Home where she is having the care she needs.


Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 25 January 2016.

Labels: Glasgow, Reports from Everywhere , WVS , Worthing, Beaconsfield, meals on Wheels , Van, hospitality , Milkman, Jimmy Logan

The longest serving member of the Army Hitler forgot

You may have seen one of the newspaper, magazine or television pieces about our oldest volunteer Margaret Miller who is 104 years young, in our celebration of VE Day at the beginning of June.

Last week we finally managed to interview Margaret about her amazing 76 years volunteering for the Royal Voluntary Service, as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded Voices of Volunteering project.

You can listen to Margaret by following the link to Margaret's page our online catalogue

Margaret was first involved with the WVS in Glasgow during the Second World War with collecting items for the Household Gifts Scheme and distributing them to people who had been bombed out. She was also involved with visiting and talking to soldiers in hospital and talking to them or bringing them gifts.

After the War Margaret was involved in Meals on Wheels and the Hospital Escort Service and in 1973 she was asked to set-up and run a stroke club called the Lightburn Harmony Stroke Club, which is still running today. In the interview Margaret also talks about the different members she has had over the years and her fundraising for the club. She also comments on her Long Service medal and two British Empire Medals, attending the 50th WRVS anniversary, a Garden Party at Holyrood in 2014 and her views on how Royal Voluntary Service has changed over the years.

Hearing volunteer‘s stories in their own words is what the Voices of Volunteering project is all about. For more information about the project you can visit the Voices of Volunteering project page

You might also be interested in the media coverage about Margaret and VE Day, you can find some of the articles below:

Posted by Matthew McMurray, Royal Voluntary Service Archivist at 10:00 Monday, 15 June 2015.

Labels: Margaret Miller, Stroke Club, Household Gifts Scheme, WVS , WRVS, RVS, Glasgow, Meals on Wheels , Hospital escort Service, British Empire Medal