Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.
Kate Bull, Executive Director of Retail, tells us about the new shop opened in Hairmyres Hospital in East Lanarkshire.
Today is a momentous day; we’re opening a hospital shop with a difference. After cutting the ribbon and opening to the public, our Shop & Co. in Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride will serve staff, patients and visitors with healthy groceries and refreshments. Like all of our 440 shops around Great Britain, it is managed locally and staffed by a team of friendly staff and volunteers.
Find out about our shops
Our research has found that eating healthily is one of the many struggles for NHS staff. 41 per cent of doctors and nurses in Scotland have one or no pieces of fruit and vegetables during a typical working day. We’re trying to make things as easy as possible to get hold of healthier food choices in hospitals, from today, you’ll be able to find sushi, salads, fruit, dried fruit and healthy take home products such as cauliflower rice and soups at Shop & Co.
We know the access to healthier food and drink choices through our shops and cafes will have a huge impact on the health of hospital staff, visitors and patients in Scotland. Our predictions show that our shops and cafés will provide 3.4 million people with access to healthier food and drink. A focus on healthier snacks will see 30,000 portions of fruit and vegetables consumed and fat consumption from crisps will reduce by three million grams while salt consumption will be reduced by 15,000 teaspoons.
Anything sold in Shop & Co., like all of our shops and cafés, is price matched against similar retailers so that you can be sure that you’re getting a good deal. And profits raised help to fund Royal Voluntary Service’s work supporting isolated older people like our Home from Hospital service which helps the transition when someone is discharged. It’s been proven to reduce complications when an older person goes home and reduces the likelihood of a return visit to hospital. It’s a nice feeling when your shopping gives back to those in need.
Today is the next step in our transformation of our shops and cafés all over Great Britain to provide a modern shopping experience while incorporating healthy choices for all. We hope to work with other commissioners and hospital partners to provide a healthier retail experience.
Royal Voluntary Service hospital shops and cafés
provide a friendly face as well as refreshment to hospital patients, visitors and staff. Find out how to volunteer near you
Funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery are helping us to run a specialist service in Doncaster, helping older people with dementia and their carers. Wendy and Ken have only been using the Doncaster Dementia Support service for a short time but Victoria, their volunteer, has had a big impact on their lives.
“Victoria makes a huge difference to our lives; she is a lovely, gentle person. It’s an amazing relief for me that I don’t worry about Ken when she’s with him. She takes him in his wheelchair on her own and they go to the shops.”
While Ken was working as a Vicar in South London, he was crushed by a lorry and subsequently uses a wheelchair. Having recently retired and following a severe fall, tests revealed that he had suffered from a stroke leading to vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. His wife of 28 years, Wendy, is his main carer. They live together in a bungalow and find it difficult to get out and about, which can make them quite isolated.
“Both of us were very isolated. It’s lucky that we love each other very much. We try to be happy in all circumstances.”
Victoria visits Ken & Wendy for two hours every alternate Monday, so that Wendy and her daughter can get out of the house and do some shopping.
“I think I provide reassurance to Wendy, she knows that Ken is ok when I’m there. Ken and I play scrabble which is good for his memory. When we go to the shops, I encourage him to reach and get things from the shelves. I try and encourage his independence skills as much as possible.
“Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose, I feel valued and appreciated. I know that Wendy relies on me so I make sure I’m always on time. I know I make an impact, and because of that I feel more connected to the community I live in.”
Victoria has two small children and a third on the way, but she still finds time to volunteer, because she enjoys it.
“My Aunty passed away and I was grieving, my friend who is a volunteer suggested I do something to ‘brighten up my life.’ And it has, I am much happier for knowing Wendy and Ken.”
Thank you to People's Postcode Lottery players
for helping Royal Voluntary Service to make a difference to the lives of older people all over Great Britain. Join our team of volunteers
and improve lives near you.