Royal Voluntary Service today (8 October) welcomed its President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, to its Mill End lunch club in Rickmansworth where she met volunteers and diners – and helped serve up lunch.
At the lunch club, The Duchess of Cornwall met face to face with Doris (aged 86), from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire as well as diners Kay (96) and Brenda (82). In April, The Duchess of Cornwall undertook a ‘check in and chat’ call with Doris while she was self-isolating where they talked about life in isolation and shared hobbies.
The visit comes on the same day Royal Voluntary Service, one of the Britain’s largest volunteering charities, launched its ‘Hour of Need’ campaign, calling on the British public to volunteer for at least an ‘hour per week’ to help support one another through the Winter COVID crisis. Months on from the start of the pandemic and the groundswell of volunteer support, the charity is urging people to pull together and support one another again by returning to volunteering or stepping forward for the first time.
The call comes on the back more than 4.9 million over 50s, many with health conditions and without family nearby, say they would benefit from volunteer help this winter, with more than half (54%) worried about a second COVID peak.
"Getting to meet The Duchess of Cornwall in person after our phone call earlier in the year was such a surreal experience – and one of the best moments of my life. It felt like meeting an old friend! It’s easy to feel anxious at the moment, with the prospect of a long winter and possible isolation ahead, so meeting the Duchess was a welcome distraction. Coming to the lunch club again is also a real pick me up. I’m even more grateful than ever before for everything the volunteers here do to help people like me."
"Rickmansworth lunch club is always a great place to share lunch and it was incredible to be able to show our President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, just why it’s so well-attended by the local community.
"I am also so grateful to all the volunteers who have enabled us to continue supporting those who need it most throughout the pandemic, and it’s fantastic to have the Duchess volunteer with us once again. It’s truly heartwarming to see the difference that can be made when people donate their time to help others, not just here, but up and down the country. The job isn’t done though. As we head into a challenging winter where many face further isolation, the need for volunteer support will be greater than ever. At Royal Voluntary Service, we’re asking everyone in a position to help to do so now. By offering just one hour of your time a week to voluntary efforts we can make sure that those that require support continue to get it."
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service
Simple tasks such as helping with shopping, food deliveries, prescription collections and making friendly phone calls to at-risk individuals can help vulnerable people cope better through the crisis.
Thousands of volunteers will be required to assist and protect the NHS by supporting the most vulnerable patients to stay safe and well. The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme in England has continued to run throughout the summer since its launch in April and is now seeing an increase in requests for help from the public. Hundreds of thousands of small acts of kindness have so far been delivered through this flexible, app-based volunteering scheme. Recruitment to the scheme is now open in many parts of England via nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk
At the heart of local communities, the work of Mutual Aid charities will prove vital again, along with a wide range of local and national charities. Supporting neighbours and friends informally will also be essential.
Volunteers can help in the community or volunteer from home and when choosing which to do, should always keep in mind their own level of risk, and follow guidance on volunteering safely.
For further information