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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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“I would emphatically recommend getting involved”


Meet Pam who is 69 and volunteers in her local community in Biddulph, Staffordshire. Pam is a member of the steering group in our Local People’s Project, funded by People’s Health Trust. The steering group work with the community to make life better for older people.

“I’ve been volunteering as a steering group member for around 18 months. We meet to talk about local issues and how best to combat them through local projects. Through the project, I’m involved in a ‘Meet and Eat’ group where older people get together every two weeks to socialise and dine together with entertainment.

“I’d lived in the area for around six years before I started volunteering but I hadn’t really connected with new people. Since joining the group, I’ve met lots of new people who have become a real support network for me. Members of the group have joined other new projects and have made new friends as a result.

“It’s been great to see how everyone in the group has changed. We’ve all gained confidence and honed our decision making skills. Our contributions feel so worthwhile and valued – we make a visible difference.

“The Local People’s Project has had a positive impact on my life. I now feel a sense of belonging in my local area. It’s given me a real sense of purpose and I now feel I have a voice within the community. I would emphatically recommend getting involved!”

Ross Podyma is Pam’s local Royal Voluntary Service Community Engagement Worker. His role involves talking to individuals and groups in the community to find out what the issues are for older people locally and their ideas to address these issues. He then supports the steering group to make some of these ideas happen.

“Pam’s community have been contributing to their local steering group and the projects that stem from the group’s decisions for the last two and half years. They decide how money from the People’s Health Trust is spent to improve lives and overall wellbeing in their area.

“The project brings people together to improve the understanding of the issues faced by local people. It’s an opportunity to express the problems that they face locally. Group members have gained confidence and unified to channel their efforts. The group is independent from other local groups, which allows members to be vocal and honest about their opinions. This has allowed member’s personalities to shine through; natural leaders, philosophers, animators and listeners, who make up the groups dynamic to bring about a positive change for the future.”

The Local People project in Biddulph is funded by the People's Health Trust, an independent charity addressing health inequalities across Great Britain. Fifty-one Health Lottery lotteries raise money that go towards grants that make projects like these possible. Royal Voluntary Service works on six Local People's Projects that are funded through People’s Health Trust’s Local People Programme. These projects take a neighbourhood approach, engaging with local people and enabling them to address wider issues in their communities through collective action.

Posted by at 00:00 Tuesday, 09 October 2018.