Editors notes

Who is Royal Voluntary Service

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the country. We inspire and enable 20,000 volunteers to give their skills, experience, energy and time to help people in need in hospitals, at home and in the community.

The charity’s volunteers improve patient experience in hospital, aid recovery after a stay on ward, help older people support themselves at home, stay fit and active and build meaningful social connections.

Royal Voluntary Service supports volunteers to run services in the community such as lunch and dining clubs, physical activity classes, craft, gardening and other hobby groups.

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 230 volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services providing tea and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors. Royal Voluntary Service promotes healthy eating and drinking in hospitals through our Healthier Choices programme. It has been ranked top of the Healthy Hospital Food League Table by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food and has been awarded a Social Enterprise Mark for its retail operation.

Our funding

Royal Voluntary Service is a charity dependent on donations, money we raise through trading and contracts with local authorities, the NHS and corporate partnerships. Royal Voluntary Service does not receive any central government funding.

Our name 

Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service (subsequently the WRVS) in 1938, the charity started out helping civilians during the Second World War.

To mark our 75th anniversary in 2013, we changed our name to ‘Royal Voluntary Service’ to reflect the role played by all our volunteers, men as well as women.

Partnership working

We work collaboratively with other charities, social care providers and the NHS to help create a society where everyone feels valued and involved. We are partnering with HelpForce to scale up the number of volunteers embedded in the NHS.

Keep in touch

Keep up to date via our eNewsletter about our work and the different ways that you can get involved and support us to do more.

Sign up