Thursday, 08 June 2017
Marks & Spencer cafés up and down the country were transformed last week for a series of vintage style tea-parties organised to honour Royal Voluntary Service volunteers and entertain those we support.
Spanning Edinburgh to Truro, the parties were held to mark Volunteers’ Week and celebrate the valuable contribution our volunteers make to their local community.
Hundreds of Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, staff and service users were joined by M&S customers at 44 tea parties where they were treated to a delicious afternoon tea. Professional singers, musical duos and even a few magicians entertained guests, whilst M&S laid on luxurious extras such as personal shoppers, hand massages and prizes.
Royal Voluntary Service has 35,000 volunteers who generously give their time to enrich the lives of older people, ensuring they stay connected to others and their communities. The tea parties proved to be a fantastic way to celebrate the work of volunteers and say thank for the amazing job they do. The events have also been a chance to inspire local people to come together to support their community, and help combat loneliness and isolation across older generations.
"Volunteering can make a profound difference to the communities in which we live, work and play – we believe that lots of the small actions from lots of people, can collectively have a huge impact. In particular, the tea party brought together different generations, from colleagues in-store to tea party attendees, allowing people of all ages to come together and celebrate the importance of friendships in tackling loneliness."
Jason Dixon, Store Manager at M&S Gyle in Edinburgh
The tea parties also form part of a major new community transformation programme spearheaded by M&S to support local communities and deliver positive, measurable change.
M&S’s Plan A 2025 initiative
was launched at a Royal Voluntary Service attended reception at Stratford Town Hall in London on 1st June, on what M&S called “Make it Matter Day”. The plan will see the retailer work with local councils and charity partners, including Royal Voluntary Service to tackle issues including loneliness and isolation. M&S colleagues worldwide will also provide one million hours of worktime community volunteering between 2017 and 2025 to various projects across the UK.
"We’re determined to play a leading role in the years ahead by taking positive action to enable customers and communities to live happier, healthier lifestyles. We’ve looked at what matters to communities and believe we can play a key role and make a real difference to community life."
Steve Rowe, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer
M&S’s Plan A activity
"This programme is exactly in line with our belief that, by working together in partnerships, we can provide more of the practical help and contact that we all will need as we get older."
David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service
will initially be piloted in ten communities over the next two years and includes a plan to work with and support charities including Royal Voluntary Service to create the biggest friendship group in the area to tackle loneliness and exclusion.
Top image, l to r: David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service and Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer
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.
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