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.

Showing 1-3 results

The importance of getting connected in this technological age

In this day and age, technology is everywhere and an integral part of our lives. We’re seeing older people becoming more tech-savvy, but it is still the case that many are missing out on the benefits of new technology.

Modern technology has great potential to deliver benefits to older people. However, we know that many feel left behind by the pace of change and the support needed to become familiar with it. Even as someone who once worked in the mobile phone sector and uses technology on a daily basis, I am amazed at the speed and regularity that it develops. As soon as you think you’ve grasped the way a gadget works, a newer shinier version becomes available!

EE techy Tea Party From making video calls to sending text messages, technology allows me to stay in touch with my family and friends across the globe. For those families who do not live near to each other, technology can bridge the gap between visits – it will never be a replacement for face to face contact – but it can mean conversation and interaction on a regular basis.

As we move into an ever growing digital society, more and more information and services are made available exclusively online. There are so many benefits for retirees that many older people are not accessing whether it’s finding a local lunch club, or sourcing health information online.

It’s easy to lose patience with technology and just stick to what you know – many of us are tempted to do that. Sometimes you just need someone to explain the basics and away you go.

I’m delighted that we’ve partnered with mobile network operator, EE and their NationalTechy Tea Party Day to do just that. From sending emails to exploring the internet – thousands of EE staff will be on hand in their stores on the 8 September to offer one on one support and advice about using technology. It’s time to dig out that gadget you got for Christmas and learn how to use it once and for all! I will be linking with my local EE store to see what they can offer me and other people in the Bedford area.

Sign up now on-line at ee.co.uk/techyteaparty to join a Techy Tea Party where you live or ask a friendly Royal Voluntary Service Manager or volunteer to help sign you up.

John Pearson, Chief Operating Officer

Posted by John Pearson, Cheif Operating Officer at 00:00 Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

Why we value Investing in Volunteers

Investing in VolunteersWe have just received the great news that we have retained our Investing in Volunteers Status (IiV). This is a quality standard that recognises our commitment to high quality volunteering standards and checks that we are providing this to those who volunteer for us.

The assessors visited a number of our volunteers in a selection of services in England, Scotland and Wales to hear what it is like to volunteer with Royal Voluntary Service. An online survey was also used to gather feedback and to find out how we matched up to the standard.

So we’ve achieved the standard but also received valuable feedback on how we can do even better in certain areas. This will be really useful as we seek to improve the volunteer experience further.

Throughout Royal Voluntary Service, our volunteers deliver incredibly valuable support to older people in their communities and in hospital. They are the backbone of the charity and have been for over 75 years. We have always got opportunities for volunteers who want to use their skills to help us and as our IiV accreditation shows, we’ll do our best to provide good volunteering in return.

We are really grateful for all our volunteers, the time they give and the work they do delivering such a fantastic service to older people. Going forward, we recognise there is so much more we can do so we’d love to have more volunteers on board helping provide more of the practical support that is so appreciated. And having achieved IiV again we want to build on this and provide an even better volunteer experience.

Richard Bragg, Volunteer Partner

Posted by Richard Bragg, Volunteer Partner at 14:00 Wednesday, 15 July 2015.

Labels: Volunteering

Royal Voluntary Service and the Men’s Sheds Association team up

Royal Voluntary Service has teamed up with the UK Men’s Sheds Association to get men out of the house and into a shed.

One thing that we feel passionate about is helping retired people keep mentally and physically active; and more than half of men and women over the age of 65 believe that continuing to take part in a hobby has helped them to do just that.

The Men’s Sheds Association provides a communal space for men to indulge hobbies and practical interests, be it woodworking, gardening or even building a car!

Men socialize a lot less once they have retired with almost half saying that they only socialise once or twice a month. It’s a real generalisation but true I think, that lots of men are identified by their jobs (speaking as one myself), so the loss of a job through ill-health or just through retirement is often a big blow to men’s confidence and sense of their own purpose. That’s why it’s great to visit the sheds and see men working, talking and doing something good for their communities – it just makes me smile.

Men feel like it is their space to be independent, somewhere they can use their skills to help others, look after each other, or just have a nice cup of tea.

What the shedders say:

"It gives me a reason to get up in the morning and for two days a week I feel I’m gainfully employed. I really feel good working with and helping chaps who often feel isolated in the community. I would need a very good reason not to come."

Bill, 67

What the shedders say:

“It’s great to learn new skills, get advice and sit and have a chat.”


Social isolation is quite common amongst retirees and if the community activities on offer do not appeal, and if sports or going down to their local does not suit them, it can be quite hard to find a place to socialise and meet new people.

Increasing the number of interactive spaces where men can socialise has the potential to provide that vital companionship, and just knowing that there are going to be other men there, helps them feel more comfortable going to the venue.

Men are often quite reluctant to use the traditional services provided by charities as they feel it will impact their independence, but with 8 out of 10 men saying they would prefer to socialise around a common interest, partnering with such an amazing organisation made absolute sense.

What the shedders say:

“Fixing, making and re-using materials has given me the motivation to improve my rented home. It improved my mental state and it gave me hope.”


What the shedders say:

“The Shed lifted my life. Finding the Shed came at a good time, I was low.”


Posted by at 14:00 Thursday, 02 July 2015.

Labels: Men’s Sheds Association