In October 2014, the NHS set out its vision to make our health and care system more person-centred, more embedded in our communities, and more effective at promoting health and well-being, rather than merely patching people up when things go wrong. I believe that Royal Voluntary Service, along with other leading health and care charities, has the right tools, approaches and expertise to help make it a reality in a sustainable and affordable way.
With the pressure on resources as a result of the economic climate alongside growing need, charities like us have an important role to play in assisting the NHS and supporting individuals. Provisions like our Home from Hospital services show a link between volunteer support and a decline in costly and distressing unplanned re-admissions but the impact of our work goes much further than that.
The nature of support provided by our volunteers is that they have the time to nurture different relationships with older people than hard pressed care professionals. Genuine friendships between an them and our volunteers can lift an older person out of social isolation, loneliness and despair, encouraging better local connections to keep them healthier and happier in the long term; both vital components in personal health and well-being. Many volunteers tell me that they get just as much out of the interactions as the older person does, spreading the benefits even further.
Being involved in drawing together our knowledge with other key players from the charity sector for the Untapped Potential report has reiterated to me how important it is that we work together to amplify our positive force in the community. 44% of the charity interventions featured in the report were found to both improve health and well-being and do so with limited or no effect on costs. I am certain that with greater collaboration between charities and the development of genuine partnerships between statutory health and social care rather than relationship based on commissioner and commissioned we can grow impact to much greater levels than indicated in the report helping to support the NHS and enriching the lives of older people.
Find out more about charities working with the NHS to achieve outcomes for all.
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Have you ever wondered what motivates marathon runners through the months of training and the challenge itself? Meet Jamie Vanstone who is running the Virgin London Marathon to raise money for Royal Voluntary Service and the work that we do with older people across Great Britain.
"A year ago, the thought of running a marathon had never crossed my mind. I, like many, had only watched the London marathon on television, from the comfort of my living room. Then, last year I was hugely inspired by the number of charity runners taking part and the awareness and money that they were all raising for their chosen charities. I really wanted to be a part of that and the more I looked into it, the more inspired I got.
"My first choice charity to run for was Royal Voluntary Service. I previously spent 3 years working for the charity where I saw first-hand what amazing work the charity does for older people within our communities. The huge numbers of volunteers that they have helping older people stay active, independent and able to continue to contribute to society, is inspiring in itself. I have personally volunteered and helped out in the Royal Voluntary Service shops and at events and I know how thankful people are for your assistance.
"The work that Royal Voluntary Service does changes people’s lives on a daily basis, even if it’s just a quick chat to someone who is currently house bound. It’s the small touches like this that makes me hugely proud to be running the marathon, representing them. My goal is not just to complete the marathon, but to raise as much awareness as possible for so that the charity can go from strength to strength in the future."
Show your support and sponsor Jamie via JustGiving. Alternatively, you can donate and make a difference.
Find out more about Jamie and others running the Virgin London Marathon in aid of Royal Voluntary Service.