Volunteers truly making a difference

Friday, 01 June 2018
Volunteer's Week
To mark the start of Volunteer's Week (1-7 June 2018), Royal Voluntary Service has released new data showing the demonstrable difference its volunteers make.

Of the 100,000 people Royal Voluntary Service supports, nearly 2,000 older people who use its services and activities were questioned about the difference the charity and its volunteers made to their lives. It found:

  • 82% feel healthier, physically and emotionally
  • 70% feel more able to cope with challenges or difficulties that come up in day to day life
  • 69% say Royal Voluntary Service has helped them do the things that are important to them and they enjoy
  • 68% have more social contact and spend more time with people
  • 62% feel more connected to the community

The charity is releasing the findings as it celebrates and thanks its volunteers for all they do.

Royal Voluntary Service has 25,000 dedicated volunteers, who help thousands of people each month in hospital, at home and in the community. From running dance clubs and lunch clubs to providing companionship on ward in a busy NHS hospital or supporting an older person just home from hospital, these volunteers do simple things which make a big difference.

"Our volunteers have been and always will be at the heart of Royal Voluntary Service. From people in their teens to nonagenarians our army of volunteers is made up of wonderful people of all ages and from many different backgrounds. Whether it’s providing an older person with company at home or bringing cheer onto a hospital ward, our volunteers make a tangible difference to so many people, with millions of small acts of kindness, given quietly and without great fanfare. We are enormously grateful for their gift of service and whilst we don’t need figures to prove their value, these survey results really bring home why volunteering is so worthwhile. We simply can’t thank them enough."

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Voluntary Service


Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering organisations in British history. It has been helping others for more than 80 years by enabling and inspiring people to give the gift of voluntary service to meet the needs of the day. Back when it was founded, that need was helping civilians during the Second World War and today, as relevant as ever, Royal Voluntary Service primarily focuses on helping people as they age live healthier and happier lives and supporting the NHS to have more time to care.

In the last 80 years, Royal Voluntary Service has inspired more than three million ordinary women and men to give their time to help others. And as part of its recent 80th anniversary celebrations, the charity announced it would be scaling up voluntary service with the NHS over the next five years.

George Costain is 74 and lives alone in Basingstoke. He received support via Royal Voluntary Service’s Home from Hospital service and matched with a volunteer, Gayle Allington.

"I have loved the visits from Gayle. She is a lovely lady and has done so much for me. Gayle has got me out and about and put me in touch with some clubs that I can go to now that I am feeling stronger. I am very grateful to Royal Voluntary Service for sending me this lady"

George, commenting on the difference Gayle has made to his life

"It’s wonderful to be an ambassador for a charity with such a rich history and one that is equally as relevant today. I’m lucky enough to have seen first-hand the extraordinary effect its volunteers have on patients in hospital and on older people in the community. It’s that human contact and care that can make all of the difference, especially if you’re feeling emotionally or physically fragile. I think volunteering is going to become much more important because we are all living much longer; we need those people who are willing to reach out and help others."

Felicity Kendal CBE, Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador
Established in 1984, Volunteer's Week is the UK’s biggest celebration of volunteering, recognising the contribution of the many millions of people who volunteer in their community across the county. This year’s theme is volunteering for all – and celebrates the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways.

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting thousands of older people each month in hospitals and the community.

The focus is on building confidence, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support.

Working across hundreds of hospitals in the community, the charity is one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafés, shops and trolley services providing much valued services 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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