Britain cares - winter warms hearts

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Ruth LangsfordIn partnership Heinz Soup, Royal Voluntary Service research reveals Brits are twice more likely to help an older person in the winter than they are in the summer. Contrary to popular belief that Brits like to keep themselves to themselves, the UK has a genuine community spirit with over half of the population calling or visiting an older neighbour once or twice a week and, on average, devoting an hour to each visit.

We've joined forces with TV presenter, Ruth Langsford, to celebrate and thank the people who share warming moments with their older neighbours during the cold, winter months. The top three things Britons do to help an older neighbour include ‘have a chat’, ‘check they are okay’ and ‘help with shopping’. One in four even enjoys a warming meal together.

The research also reveals that Brits show a true selfless side. The main reasons people cite for supporting their older neighbours are ‘it feels natural to make sure they’re okay’, ‘enjoyment of time spent together’ and ‘friendship’.

"It takes a small change to make a big difference to the lives of older people who may not see anyone other than their neighbours for days on end. When getting out and about is difficult, isolation and loneliness can set in, which can have a serious impact on health and well-being. Sharing time changes lives and taking a bit of time out of your day to have a chat to your neighbour to make sure they’re okay and have everything they need, can mean the difference between a bad day and a good week.

"We are incredibly grateful to Heinz Soup for donating 100,000 cans of soup to our lunch clubs, so our volunteers can share warming moments with the older people they visit. We see the huge impact our volunteers have on the lives of older people, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Heinz to encourage others to spare some time to help older people in their communities too."

David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive
Out of those who currently do not help an older neighbour, one in four cite ‘being worried about offending them’ as the reason for not doing so. However, further revealing Britain as a hospitable nation; nearly 75% say they would consider sharing a warming lunch with an older neighbour during the cold winter months, if they knew they would be welcome.

"As we all get used to the colder temperatures and limited day light, it’s an important time to think about being a good neighbour to older people who may be living alone in our communities. When you have time, popping over for a warming and comforting bowl of soup and a chat means the world to them. Even if you’re schedule is busy, the little act of saying hello and checking they’re okay can make a big positive difference to the daily lives of older people during the lonely winter months."

TV Presenter, Ruth Langsford

"The research we commissioned is very revealing and shows that despite the perception that Brits like to keep themselves to themselves, we actually go above and beyond to help our older neighbours, especially during the winter months. Royal Voluntary Service is an incredibly worthwhile charity that provides support for so many older people during the cold winter months. We hope this partnership brings much needed awareness to the great work they do and inspires others to go out and share a warming moment with their friends and neighbours."

Shane Shortman, Senior Brand Manager at Heinz Soup

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 35,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

If you are a member of the press and have a media enquiry please contact the Media Team. For all other enquiries, contact us.

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