The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make surprise visit to Royal Voluntary Service client at Batley Community Centre

Tuesday, 08 December 2020 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Royal Voluntary Service Batley Community Centre
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Royal Voluntary Service client, Len Gardener (84) from Batley in West Yorkshire on 7 December, whom The Duchess has supported with 'Check In and Chat' calls during the pandemic.

The Duke and Duchess’ third stop on their journey across the UK was to Batley Community Centre in West Yorkshire where Len receives support from Royal Voluntary Service volunteers.

Len is a full-time carer for his wife Shirley and the charity’s volunteers have supported Len and Shirley with regular phone calls and visits, warm home cooked meals and social activities.

Len from Batley Community Centre meets The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Their Royal Highnesses also met volunteers from the centre who have supported older members of their community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by sending cards, having regular phone calls and dropping off shopping, food bags and activity packs.

"We are incredibly grateful to The Duchess of Cambridge for kindly supporting the NHS Volunteer Responders programme from the start of the pandemic. Her ‘Check In and Chat’ call to Len, who is helped regularly by Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, has meant the world to him and it was wonderful they were able to meet in person today.

"It’s so important to highlight the power of conversation, and by doing something as simple as making a phone call, you really can make someone’s day."

Catherine Johnstone CBE, CEO of Royal Voluntary Service
Royal Voluntary Service is the charity partner of the Christmas Together campaign which aims to make this Christmas one of the most-friendly and connected yet. The campaign encourages people to reach to those who are alone and may need support this festive period.

One of the ways this can be done is by volunteering with NHS Volunteer Responders – a scheme run in partnership with Royal Voluntary Service and NHS England. NHS Volunteer Responders support vulnerable people with vital tasks including supportive ‘Check In and Chat’ calls, shopping and prescription collections and transport to and from medical appointments. People in England can sign up at

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with volunteers supporting the NHS and thousands of vulnerable people in the community. During the crisis the charity has delivered the NHS Volunteer Responders programme for NHS England enabled by the GoodSAM app with 360,000 active volunteers responding to over one million requests for support so far. The charity has also worked in local communities through the crisis running home libraries, companionship support, home from hospital services and patient transport. Its new Virtual Village Hall provides live classes and tutorials on Facebook to promote well-being and keep people active and occupied through the pandemic.

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in Britain. We inspire and enable volunteers to help people in need in hospitals, at home and in the community.

Our 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. We work collaboratively with other charities, social care providers and the NHS to help create a society where everyone feels valued and involved.

The charity is one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services providing tea and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors.

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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Royal Voluntary Service... a national charity built on local volunteering, giving support to people to meet the needs of the day in the NHS and in our communities.

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