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Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering organisations in Great Britain, providing vital, responsive services which support public health, social care and wellbeing. Its staff and thousands of volunteers support people in need, with the aim of building resilience in local communities.
Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service (subsequently the WRVS) in 1938, the charity began its life helping civilians during the Second World War. To mark our 75th anniversary in 2013, we became Royal Voluntary Service and welcome volunteers of all genders and backgrounds from age 14+.
The charity has supported the NHS since its inception. Today’s Royal Voluntary Service NHS volunteers provide patient companionship and transport, on-ward exercise sessions, and settlement support for vulnerable patients following a stay in hospital.
In local communities, Royal Voluntary Service (volunteers) run(s) physical activity classes, dining clubs and social groups which bring people together, promoting better health, social interaction and connection.
In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, NHS England commissioned Royal Voluntary Service to deliver the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to support the NHS and provide practical help to the 2.5 million most at-risk people who were shielding at home. This was the biggest volunteer mobilisation programme in peacetime and represents a revolution in volunteering, using technology to register, alert and deploy volunteers quickly, wherever needed. The programme created a safety net of on-call support in every community across England and to date, NHS Volunteer Responders have responded to 1.5 million requests for help.
The charity is also one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 230 volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services providing refreshments and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors.
Royal Voluntary Service offers a dynamic, rewarding, flexible volunteering experience, with volunteers supporting services designed to meet specific local community needs and the NHS.
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.