Royal Voluntary Service has appointed Catherine Johnstone as its new Chief Executive Officer. Johnstone, who is well-known for her successful leadership of Samaritans, will take over the role from David McCullough who moves on after more than five years at the helm.

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting over 100,000 older people each month in hospitals and the community. The focus is on enriching lives, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support. The charity is also known as one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafés and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals, while raising funds to support community work.

During Johnstone’s tenure at Samaritans she moved the issue of suicide and its prevention up the national agenda. She forged a series of prominent partnerships and delivered an effective five year strategy which up-scaled the charity’s impact. She was awarded a CBE in 2016 for her services to suicide prevention.

At Royal Voluntary Service, Johnstone will again be working in a large national charity with volunteering at the heart of its service provision. Johnstone is a passionate champion of volunteering and the opportunity it offers individuals, communities and the nation as a whole. She has been a Trustee of Royal Voluntary Service since January 2017.

"I am delighted that Catherine is becoming our new Chief Executive. Her record in building sustainable services, driving innovation and, of course, inspiring and enabling volunteers to organise and deliver will be invaluable.

She takes the CEO role at a key moment as we begin to see the impact of our strategic refocus which has put volunteers right to the fore of service development. We are witnessing a real appetite among them not just to work in services, but to invent, create and lead them."

Richard Greenhalgh, Chair of Royal Voluntary Service

"I am once again privileged to lead one of the UKs largest volunteer involving charities. With an ever increasing tough time for our society I am looking forward to working with the staff and volunteers to ensure that Royal Voluntary Service can be the best it can be."

Catherine Johnstone

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