What we're saying

Royal Voluntary Service blog
Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.

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Interested in an exciting new role at WRVS?

We're incredibly excited by a new research project that's really going to change the way WRVS, and all its partners, approach living well in old age. WRVS have been awarded nearly half a million pounds from the BIG Lottery to carry out this research, which is the first of its kind to focus on how people themselves can help each other to improve their health and live well for longer. We will be challenging national and local government, health authorities and other partners to use the tools and campaigning materials we develop to better enable people to help each other and themselves, and on their own terms.

We're currently recruiting a project worker to run this project - if you are interested see www.wrvs.org.uk/jobs by the closing date of Monday 1st February.

The project starts up in April 2010 and will run for three years. In the first year there will be a national consultation with older people on what they want in place to live well in old age. Followed by two years of work in five areas of the UK where project workers will develop new ways of engaging older people to help each other to improve their quality of life.

WRVS has joined forces with two partners with a reputation for involving people in developing and improving the services they need: Professor Peter Beresford of the Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University and Jennie Fleming, Centre for Social Action, De Montfort University.

This is great news for WRVS - and for everyone with a stake in older people's health and well-being.

Posted by Julia Cook

Posted by at 15:36 Thursday, 28 January 2010.

Can't afford to volunteer?

Have you ever wanted to volunteer but couldn't afford to? Take a look at the Vodafone World of Difference programme. Every year hundred's of people are given the oppportunity to work with charities around the world and receive funding so they can still afford to eat and pay the bills!

One of our volunteers Andrew Graves has received funding from Vodafone’s World of Difference to spend two months volunteering at Thanet Good Neighbours, which provides older people with companionship and help with jobs around the house.

Andrew became a WRVS volunteer after being made redundant last year. He was able to offer a few hours a week, which gave him enough time to change a light bulb, hang a picture or put up curtains. Thanks to the Vodafone funding he is able to volunteer full time for 2 months. The extra time means Andrew is able to do more and build trust with the people he’s working with.

Andrew has been helping Alan, who was made homeless last year after a fire made his home inhabitable. He has spent the last 10 months sleeping on a friend’s sofa. Andrew has been helping Alan move back home, taking him to buy new white goods and supporting him through the process.

Through World of Difference people can get paid experience - for two months or a year - at a charity of their choice in the UK or overseas. To date it has allowed over 700 individuals, around the world, to work for their dream charity - and be paid. For more information visit http://www.vodafone.com/world_of_difference.html

Visit Andrew's blog too! http://worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk/uk/andrew-graves/

Posted by Julia Cook

Posted by Julia Cook at 15:36 Tuesday, 26 January 2010.

Scotland the Brave and a Sign of the Times

When you’re neck deep in politics, having a Government Minister visit one of your projects because he thinks it’s an exemplar of what things are all about is as exciting as the sight of a great big pot of honey is to Winnie the Pooh.

This week then, I was cock-a-hoop that Jim Mather, Scottish Government Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism came to see the WRVS Good Neighbours project in Cockenzie, East Lothian and met volunteers Alan MacKay, Graham Schofield, Isobel Murray and Margaret Dickson along with project Manager Tracey Walkingshaw and Service Delivery Manager Stephen McIlroy.

Her stayed for an hour and had a really good chat with them all about the fantastic work they’ve been doing battling treacherous conditions to help older people stay safe and well during the recent whiteout. He also talked about how he saw volunteer effort marrying with business and wider interests to create strong, resourceful communities. Whatever your politics, you can’t fault Mr Mather’s intelligence, energy and commitment.

Mr Mather said, “The Scottish Government very much recognises the important contribution that voluntary action makes at times like these and I’ve been particularly struck by how these volunteers don’t see themselves or their work as something special. They just get on with it. That spirit is admirable and we commend their efforts.”

WRVS is particularly glad we were able to celebrate our volunteers’ achievements for older people without having to lament any tragedies. While the mainstream media seems ghoulishly keen on death and disaster at least on our own Blog we can feature some good news stories! And we’re on YouTube! Hey, how twenty first century are we! Check it out! youtube.com/watch?v=8tPFibOquGc

Just so you know, in 2009 WRVS East Lothian Good Neighbours saw 71 volunteers spend 4000 hours intensively assisting 45 older people with almost 1200 different 'tasks' (eg shopping, hospital, GPs, social activities) on over 500 separate occasions, involving 1000 individual journeys. That’s some level of intensive support: good on ‘em.

Volunteer Amanda Hall from Kirklees Good Neighbours and the lady she helps in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, Joyce Heaton also meant WRVS shone in the Times in England over Christmas, where we were touted as a great solution to older people’s isolation in a piece that covered some very much less upbeat situations.

Posted by Andrew Jackson at 13:44 Friday, 15 January 2010.