Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.
Meet Margaret who is 72 and volunteers in her local community in Biddulph, Staffordshire. Margaret volunteers on her local Steering Group to voice local issues and come up with solutions. As a result, she volunteers at a social club, which she helped to set up.
“I heard about my local Steering Group after a project member visited my care home. I’d recently retired and wanted to get involved in local activities. That was two years ago now. I helped to start my local ‘Meet and Eat’ group, which I still volunteer at.
“At ‘Meet and Eat’, about twenty of us get together to enjoy food and entertainment together. I’ve met new people, made new friends and have had lots of fun!
“I’ve had so many opportunities through my volunteering. I’ve organised and led an intergenerational project where our group and a local youth group took it in turns to cook a meal for each other. I go to my local Fit For Friday, where an instructor tailors fun exercise to suit our abilities. I cannot say what I enjoyed the most; I’ve enjoyed it all!
“The People’s Project has all made a very positive difference to my life. Without it, I would be isolated at home. I hope I have inspired other to do the same; it’s great!”
Ross Podyma is Margaret’s local Royal Voluntary Service Community Engagement Worker.
“Margaret’s group has given local people a voice. For the first time, they feel less invisible. Their energy levels and appetite to involve themselves in activities or research has brought them into contact with new people and new experiences. Steering group members were being asked of their opinion, something that didn’t happen much before. This project has provided members with a feeling of self-worth and belonging with something as simple as enabling people to connect with each other. Friendships have blossomed too.”
The Local People project in Biddulph is one of six Local People Projects run by Royal Voluntary Service thanks to funding from the People's Health Trust
. Find out more about how we are working with local people
to help them tackle the issues facing older people in their communities.
Posted by at 00:00
Thursday, 02 August 2018.
Julie likes to get creative at our art group in Thetford, Norfolk. The group is part of our Local People Project, funded by People’s Health Trust. She tells us why the group is so important to her wellbeing and why Mondays are a good day for her since she joined.
“I’ve been coming to the Arts and Wellbeing Group for around a year now. We meet every Monday and I really look forward to it! The group is so friendly. Every week you are greeted by smiling faces and are made to feel so welcome.
“It’s so much more than an art group; we natter, laugh and chat about anything and everything. You name it, we’ve done it! From collage to colouring, glass painting to Christmas decoration making. I have taken some of my projects home with me and I get a real sense of pride and ownership from the work I’m doing.
“I am thrilled that my son has seen some of my work. He knows how much I am loving my crafting. He has even asked me to design and make cards for his wedding!
“I am currently enjoying working on my journal, which is all about my life. I am finding it really interesting to research where I was born and the area I came from. Others in the group have inspired me to delve into my roots; this is something I’d never considered doing before but I find truly fascinating. It keeps my mind active and awakens memories that have been asleep for years.
“The group has made a real difference to my life. Some weekends, I don’t get to see anybody at all and it does get very lonely. But then I remember I have arts group on Monday morning and I get so excited and pack my bag to get ready. I really look forward to seeing everyone. I’ve made new friends and connections through the group. I am quite a reserved person but within the group, I can feel my confidence building. I can speak up and make suggestions that others will listen to and value.
“I also find myself thinking of others in the group and ways to help them. I save magazine cuttings and photos that I find for my classmates, knowing that they will appreciate and use them. I feel that they have been pleased with my thoughtfulness and that makes me happy.”
Thanks to funding from People's Health Trust
, Royal Voluntary Service is supporting Local People Projects
in six communities in England and Scotland. Residents in these communities are working together to set up activities, organise events and influence what goes on locally to make life better for older people.