Biggest volunteer recruitment drive since WW2 to help boost mental health in same way as exercise

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The recruitment drive comes 80 years on from the country’s biggest call up for volunteers to support on the homefront during World War Two.

When war broke out in 1939, it sparked a surge in the number of people eager to volunteer. People offered their time and skills for a variety of services including: healthcare and welfare services to citizens and soldiers, first aid, hospital nursing and packing Prisoner of War food parcels.

Now the RVS is calling on people to support the NHS on ward, help people get home from hospital, transport them to hospital and cafes, shops and trolley services.

The charity is also urging volunteers to set up community activity groups and help out at existing lunch and social clubs as well as helping the charity with media, fundraising and administrative tasks.

Rebecca Kennelly, Director of Volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service, said that a lot of people want to get involved with helping and it is the responsibility of charities to respond to that need.

“In the past, the benefits of volunteering have been disproportionately enjoyed by those of higher socioeconomic groups,” she added.

“We want to see a cultural shift and for people of all ages and backgrounds to be able to integrate volunteering into their everyday life and benefit from the experience. Volunteering should be as accessible as possible so it’s not a huge undertaking but a pivotal part of people’s everyday life.

“There is something to suit everyone, whether it’s providing an older person with company at home, running an exercise class for patients on a hospital ward or putting culinary skills to use at a lunch club, our volunteers make a tangible difference to so many people, with millions of acts of kindness.

“The sense of purpose and joy that can be derived from volunteering and supporting others is incomparable and stays with our volunteers for life.”

The RVS is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the country and coordinates 20,000 volunteers across the country spend their time helping people in hospitals, at home and in the community.

It was originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Services in 1938 and started out by helping civilians during the Second World War.

 



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