2013: The Year of the volunteer

Older people’s charity WRVS is calling on Britons to add volunteering to their list of new year’s resolutions by committing some of their time to charity.

Volunteering has seen a renaissance in 2012 with volunteer enquires to WRVS doubling during the Olympics. And the charity, which is run by an army of 40,000 volunteers, is keen for the legacy to continue in to 2013 when it celebrates its 75th year.

Enquires about volunteering typically spikes in January and thanks to the example set by the Games Makers praised in the Queen’s Christmas message, WRVS is hoping the trend will continue this year.

David McCullough, WRVS chief executive, said: “Volunteering is something anyone can do and we’d encourage everyone to do. With councils cutting services we need more volunteers than ever to help older people in the community whether providing company, a lift to the shops or distributing Meals on Wheels. You don’t need lots of time, qualifications or experience to volunteer, just the desire to make a difference and we would urge anyone interested to get in touch.”

The work of volunteers was recently recognised through Diamond Champions awards run by WRVS which celebrated people over the age of 60 who volunteer and make a difference to their community. Patrons of the awards, the Prince of Wales and WRVS President, the Duchess of Cornwall, paid tribute at the time to the commitment volunteers make and the impact they have on society.

Volunteering is also recognised to have beneficial health implications – according to research conducted by WRVS this year, older people who volunteer are less depressed, have a better quality of life and are happier with their lives.

WRVS supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer with tailor made solutions. Through its army of 40,000 volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (Befriending), Meals-on Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. A charity that receives no direct government funding, it also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services, speeding up discharge.

To register an interest in volunteering visit www.wrvs.org.uk or call 0845-6014670