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round the world

raise funds with one of our great challenges


Mary berry’s christmas Enjoy a special recipe from the queen of cakes


regional news HARVEST FESTIVAL in our shops winter health

autumn/winter 2013

valuing volunteers making older people happy HISTORY

always ready to We help celebrate

75 years of kindness

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Changing names, not principles


We don’t generally shout about our achievements, but instead focus on the next challenge

am absolutely delighted to welcome you to this very special edition of Action. This issue looks different. It is a celebration of all that Royal Voluntary Service has achieved over the last 75 years, and it’s our chance to share with you what the future has in store. I often think that as an organisation we are very modest. We don’t shout about our achievements, but instead focus on the next challenge. Recently I met one of our volunteers who has been with us for half a century. I asked her what came to mind when she looked back over her 50 years of volunteering, and her reply was that she would much rather look forward than back. It’s a great attitude, but I do think it’s right for us all to take just a moment to reflect. We were there during the Second World War, rising to the challenges of the day, and we are here today, with 500 shops and cafés, and people helping individuals and communities right across the land. One of the highlights of this 75th anniversary year was our wonderful Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in May. You can read more about it on page 6. In this issue, we’ll be meeting just a few of the volunteers who, like you, make a difference around the UK. We’ve also got a special mini-magazine and Christmas card from our new partners McCarthy & Stone – who’ve recently made us their Charity of the Year. Over the next few months I’ll be heading out to meet many of you to hear what you think about our new strategy, our new brand, and the next 75 years. Until then, grab a cuppa, enjoy your magazine, and give yourself a pat on the back. Without you, we could never have achieved so much.

David McCullough, Chief Executive, Royal Voluntary Service

we’re proud of our facts and figures Here are just a few of the amazing things that Royal Voluntary Service has achieved this year 1.25 million interactions with older people, a chat and a laugh 850,000 healthy, delicious Meals on Wheels delivered 56,000 books delivered to people who need them 38,000 journeys with people to appointments, shops or to visit friends 450 community centres and clubs 68 community hubs across Britain 2,581 Long-service awards to our volunteers

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GET INVOLVED WITH GREAT BREW BREAK The idea is really simple – get together with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours for a good old fashioned brew and some homemade cakes to raise money.

Monday 28th April – Sunday 4th May It’s easy and fun to get involved!

For more information you can ring us on 0845 600 2540 or visit A fundraising pack will be available soon. Royal Voluntary Service, Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RP. Registered charity 1015988 & SC038924. A limited company number 2520413.

in this issue







rouNd The world

raise funds with one of our great challenges


Mary berry’s christMas enjoy a special recipe from the queen of cakes

autumn/winter 2013

valuing volunteers making older people happy hISTorY

always ready to we help celebrate 75 years of kindness


regional news harvest festival in our shops winter health

on the cover this iconic image shows WVS despatch rider Meg Moorat, or ‘Miss Mercury’, on her Triumph Twin motorbike delivering messages to help the war effort

06 13 14 16

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OUR NEWS A round-up of all the latest Royal Voluntary Service news and events from across Britain  DAY IN THE LIFE For Locality Manager A Elaine Grealey, there’s never an ordinary day with Royal Voluntary Service  AROUND BRITAIN We join volunteers from across the country to celebrate recent awards, birthdays and donations  LOCAL HEROES A selection of volunteers share inspiring memories of the difference they have made to older people and themselves

20 26

7 5 YEARS OF KINDNESS Our special feature charts the many changes our organisation has seen over the years  HEAD FOR ADVENTURE It’s time to A introduce our exciting new ways to raise funds for Royal Voluntary Service

30 32 34 36

38 42

 UEEN OF CAKES Enjoy a new take on Q Christmas cake with this recipe from Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry  KEEPING WELL THIS WINTER Beat the cold with our helpful advice on staying healthy when temperatures fall  SIGN UP FOR GOLD SERVICE Why we need you to come forward to help make our hospital trolley service even better  TAKE TWO VOLUNTEERS Our volunteers span the generations, and for this issue we meet two women who work in our hospital cafés  UIZZES Stimulate the grey matter Q with our games, puzzles and teasers, just right for a cosy winter night in  SCRAP BOOK We wind back time to the 1940s to revisit the women who ran a WVS clothing exchange

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UR News All the latest from royal voluntary service

The Duchess of Cornwall makes it a day to remember Volunteers gather at St Paul’s

Patricia Routledge delivers her address

duchess attends special service

ROYAL VOLUNTARY SERVICE PRESIDENT joins VOLUNTEERS from across britain to celebrate our 75th anniversary


n 22 May a Service of Thanksgiving was held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Royal Voluntary Service. Our president, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, attended the service, along with over 2,000 volunteers who have dedicated themselves to helping older people lead independent lives in their own homes. The service, conducted by the Chapter of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, featured a number of readings that looked to 6


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both the past and present of Royal Voluntary Service, including one by Esther Ranzen CBE, who was speaking about Scotland in the 1980s. Royal Voluntary Service Ambassador Patricia Routledge CBE offered an address that summed up the tremendous spirit of Royal Voluntary Service throughout its 75-year history. She concluded with the rousing sentiment: “May the Royal Voluntary Service indeed go from strength to strength.”

“I felt very proud” Reaction to the service at St Paul’s has been extremely positive. One volunteer, Margaret Buckton, told us: “What a wonderful service. I felt very proud to be a member of Royal Voluntary Service.” Diamond Champion Ruth Corin, from Penzance, had resounding praise for Patricia Routledge’s “amazing” address. Jane Lanning, from Chorleywood Meals on Wheels, said: “The presence of the Duchess of Cornwall was a lovely surprise. She looked so beautiful.” Guard of Honour Marilyn Openshaw summed up the thoughts of many when she wrote that the occasion “was a culmination of all the special things I have done within Royal Voluntary Service.”

our news

let’s get social! The wonderful world of Twitter and Facebook lets us see what you’ve been up to the moment it happens. Here are just a few of your pics – we love to see them, so remember, keep on posting!

Britain’s lost talent

Flossie and her mum Catherine had a great day at the first Good Neighbours Yard Sale in Chelmsford This coffee morning in Sanquhar raised £580 for Royal Voluntary Service Dumfries and Galloway

research reveals that older people’s skills are wasted


ew research by Royal Voluntary Service has revealed that older people aren’t always getting the opportunity to put their skills and talents into practice. Among the 500 people we surveyed we found that almost a quarter of over-75s have a special skill, but 21 per cent never get to use it. Nearly a third of men say they rarely or never get to use their talents or skills, compared to 14 per cent of women. Activities include gardening, knitting and carpentry. Verity Haines, Director of Marketing and Development,

top skills l Knitting l Art/painting l Gardening l Engineering l Carpentry l Professional


l Photography l Singing l Crafts l Sewing/


said: “It is vital that older people have the opportunity to use and share their skills in our communities. “It benefits not only the older people themselves, but everyone that can learn from their knowledge and talent.” The research was released to coincide with Silver Sunday – a day pioneered by Westminster City Council to recognise the contribution over-65s make. The second Silver Sunday took place in October, with activities such as creative writing, and musical performances.

William Powell, assembly member for mid and west Wales, met the Royal Voluntary Service team at Bronllys hospital in Powys @RoyalVolService

resilience raises cash

charity of the year

McCarthy & Stone Executive Director Ali Crossley in the Royal Voluntary Service café/shop at Loughborough Hospital

Royal Voluntary Service is delighted to be working with McCarthy & Stone as its Charity of the Year 2013-14. It is best known for building market-leading Later Living and Assisted Living developments, and offers a range of services such as care and domestic support. At the heart of its success is the desire to have a positive effect on the lives of people in later life, which supports our ambition to improve the lives of older people in Britain. In addition to sponsoring this year’s Diamond Champions, McCarthy & Stone will aim to raise at least £75,000 for Royal Voluntary Service before the end of 2014 through fundraising and volunteering initiatives at more than 150 retirement developments across the UK.

Staff and crew at the Resilience Roadshow in Epping Forest were well catered for by local Royal Voluntary Service volunteers providing refreshments and Ginsters sandwiches. They helped to raise around £800 at the family event.

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Memories are made of this

Teddy bears help brew up some fun

new campaign celebrates the stars of royal voluntary service


new fundraising campaign is coming to a hub near you this Christmas – and it aims to collect over £15,000 for local services. Memory Stars is a very simple idea. People can take a moment to write the name of a departed loved one on a star, and then make a suggested donation of £2 in their memory. The stars, which will be available from November right through until Christmas, can be displayed at home, or shared with others in your local Royal Voluntary Service hub. The inspiration for the campaign came from the example of long-serving volunteers such as Joan Griggs, who gave 68 years of service with us. When Joan passed away in 2012, her friends and family celebrated her life by making donations to Royal Voluntary Service. “Memory Stars are a really lovely way to treasure a loved one sadly no longer with us,” says Charlotte Dunham, Royal Voluntary Service Locality Manager for Gwent. “Christmas is a time when family is so important, but sadly for many older people we come across, it can be more lonely than ever. “Money raised by Memory Stars donations will help us to make this time of year as special as possible.”

Farewell to friends Remembering those the Royal Voluntary Service has lost

Billy Dickson, West Dunbartonshire; Alice McArthur; Patricia Duffy, Sunderland; Margaret Caswell, St Albans; Julia Jackson, Sutton Coldfield; Pauline Wallis; Veronica Durrant, Dorset



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Bears join the Great Brew break

Over £1,500 raised by sponsored walk at Wakefield teddy bears’ picnic Children donned their pyjamas and grabbed their cuddly toys for the Teddy Bears’ Brew Break, a sponsored walk round Wakefield’s Newmillerdam Country Park. Volunteers from Royal Voluntary Service West Yorkshire were on hand with refreshments, and MP for

Wakefield Mary Creagh also joined in the fun. The day raised £1,520 for the 2013 Great Brew Break. A nationwide total of £80,296 has been raised so far by the Great Brew Break, with the proceeds going towards helping prevent loneliness among older people.

history to help today’s work Sales of a landmark book about the early days of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) will help the work Royal Voluntary Service does today. Women at the Ready, by social historians Patricia and Robert Malcolmson, turns back the clock to the summer of 1938 when, with war on the horizon, British women from all walks of life joined the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) to help serve and protect their communities. By 1941 a million women had enrolled. This enthralling book, published by Little, Brown, is a fitting tribute to the sacrifice and determination of WVS volunteers. Twenty-five per cent of the royalties from each book sold will go to support the work of Royal Voluntary Service today.

our news

Library laurels

diamond year for darby and joan club

Book volunteer in line for award A Cheshire mobile library has reached the finals of a local award. The Winsford Library Mobile Books service ensures older people don’t miss out on their favourite reads if they can’t make it to the library. Volunteer Lillian

Waller (pictured second from right) has been nominated for best volunteer in the Winsford Mayor’s Oscar Awards. “It’s a great service,” says Ian Anstice, Librarian in charge at Winsford Library.

A new initiative seeks to promote greater knowledge of dementia

be a dementia friend Prime Minister David Cameron has lent his support to Dementia Friends, a new initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society. The project seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of dementia, so that staff and volunteers can help and support people who live with dementia in the local community. The aim is to have a million Dementia Friends in England by 2015. Royal Voluntary Service alone is committed to having 20,000 people in England registered as Dementia Friends by the end of July 2014. Over the next 12 months, at least half of our volunteers and 95 per cent of our staff will have attended an information session that will

cinderford group marks anniversary with dancing Everyone was in a party mood at Cinderford Rugby Club in the Forest of Dean, as the local Darby and Joan Club met this September to celebrate 60 years of fun and dancing. Live music from an organist, including a selection of songs such as Nat King Cole’s ‘When I Fall in Love’ and the Andrews Sisters’ ‘Don’t Bring Lulu’, added a bit of a swing to the special anniversary event, and gave attendees the chance to sing and dance the afternoon away. The club, which is held for over-60s living in the Cinderford area of Gloucestershire, is organised by local residents Bruce and Esme Baker, both of whom enjoy bringing together local people to take part in dancing, teas and other social activities. Among those taking part in the lively event was one 90-year-old member, who began by helping out with the club 30 years ago, and still regularly attends.

lead to them becoming Dementia Friends. A Dementia Friend learns what it is like to live with dementia, and they turn understanding into action, from helping someone find the right bus to sharing information about dementia in their community. A number of MPs have already attended a Dementia Friends session, and we will be holding information sessions in your area soon, so please join us if you can. Bruce and Esme Baker, organisers of the Cinderford Darby and Joan Club

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Volunteers gather at Westminster Abbey for the Harvest Festival

best of british produce heads from food festival to those most in need

harvest reaps rewards


group of volunteers took part in a special service at Westminster Abbey on 16 October to celebrate the harvest. The service was held as part of British Food Fortnight and was attended by Royal Voluntary Service president Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall. It was the first harvest festival to be held in the abbey since 1966. Following the service, harvest boxes were distributed to service users in Maidenhead, Wokingham Hospital and Wargrave. Volunteer Allan James, from Slough,

attended the service. He said: “It was a very friendly atmosphere and a marvellous occasion.” A high point of the service for many was the Bishop of London’s address. For Rosie Morgan-Barry, a volunteer in Wokingham Hospital, it delivered just the right message. “He talked about the importance of growing your own and finding out what the earth can give you. It’s good for children to learn where food comes from and to value it.”

Meals in the snow Brighton and Hove Meals on Wheels service made the big time in January after its service was featured on the ITV Meridian News. The report showed how the service battled through snow and ice to continue bringing sustenance to older people living in the area.



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Volunteer Rosie Dewick, left, told a reporter that Meals on Wheels may be the “only point of contact a lot of people have, if they haven’t got care going in, so at least we have our regular rounds and can see if anything has gone wrong. It’s essential these people have a hot meal inside them.”

our news

Supportive shoppers Supermarket charity scheme puts older people first

Find the time Celebrating our 75th anniversary has given us the opportunity to reflect on our past. Look through this issue of Action to answer the question below and you could win a luxury hamper worth £70 courtesy of In which year did volunteers deliver the first Meals on Wheels in Welwyn Garden City?

Cindy Lloyd and Barbara Williams from Waitrose with Service Manager Zoe Halliday (centre)


aitrose customers in West Byfleet have helped to raise a donation to Royal Voluntary Service of £630 through the supermarket chain’s Community Matters Scheme. Each month, Waitrose branches donate £1,000 between three local good causes. The funds will directly benefit older people in the area by supporting services, including Books on Wheels, and the tea bar with trolley service at Chertsey St Peter’s Hospital and Woking Community Hospital. “We’re extremely pleased to have been

Send your answers and contact details on a postcard by 20 December 2013 to: able to help the fantastic work of Royal Voluntary Service through our Community Matters scheme,” says Cindy Lloyd, from Waitrose West Byfleet. “We must also thank our customers for nominating the charity in the first place, as well as supporting it with their green tokens when they shop with us.” “We’re delighted with the generous support from Waitrose and its customers in West Byfleet,” says John Maguire, who is the Locality Manager in Surrey. “This money will really help us to boost our vital services for older people in the area.”

Action Find the Time, c/o Think Publishing, Woodside House, 20–23 Woodside Place, Glasgow G3 7QF


Prizes roll in across the country

Royal Voluntary Service people, services and partnerships have been recognised for their work all around Britain. In Edinburgh, our voluntary patient transport drivers (pictured left) received an NHS Lothian Celebrating Success award at a glitzy ceremony on 24 October, for ensuring patients could get home after spending time in hospital. In Glasgow, Royal Voluntary Service was named Third Sector/Social Enterprise partner of the year by the Bridges charity, which works with refugees. Meanwhile, in Derbyshire, the local Meals on Wheels service won a Best Organisation of the Year gong at the Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire CVS Voluntary Sector awards on 16 October. Well done to all involved!

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our news Royal Voluntary Service responds to Health Secretary’s speech on Britain’s ‘national shame’

My memories Celebrating our 75th anniversary is not just about the organisation, but it’s about personal memories too. Here, one volunteer shares her story: “In 1963 my youngest child started school. It seemed like a good time to give some of my time and interest to voluntary work.
The WVS were appealing for volunteers, so I asked if there was anything I could do.


he issue of loneliness hit the headlines this autumn, as UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called loneliness a source of “national shame”. In the speech, which Hunt made at the National Children and Adults Service Conference in October, he said 800,000 people were “chronically lonely”. In response, Royal Voluntary Service Policy and Public Affairs Manager Steve Smith (pictured right) was asked to comment in 20 TV and radio interviews throughout the UK. “It’s helpful that the Government have placed loneliness at the centre of the agenda,” said Smith. “But there doesn’t seem to be a coherent policy from any of the parties on how to tackle it.” The Health Secretary called for families to spend more time with older relatives. However, Smith responded: “Our figures show that families do what they can to spend time with older relatives, but with modern-day pressures it’s not always possible.” With three million older people 12


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currently aged 80 or above, the issue of social isolation is only going to increase. But Royal Voluntary Service is there to help. “We’ve got 40,000 volunteers, and their average age is 64,” said Smith. “It’s a network of older people supporting older people.” “Our ‘Gold Age Pensioners’ report from 2010 showed that over-65s contributed £40bn to the economy, which will rise to £77bn by 2030,” he added. Royal Voluntary Service encourages individuals to think about planning their social networks for old age, in the same way that we plan our finances.

“My local organiser suggested that I should put myself forward for training as a speaker for a new project. The WVS founder, Lady Stella Reading, was concerned about the reported rise in young people’s drug-taking and thought that WVS women could give talks to mothers of pre-school children.
 “After that, I became Lady Reading’s favourite speaker. I gave the talk in many settings, including the Houses of Commons and Lords. The most exciting time for me was being sent to speak to parents stationed in RAF Berlin, and being driven through Checkpoint Charlie behind the Iron Curtain. “Alone in my staff car, holding my passport against the window as we drove from the lights of west Berlin to the cold grey east, is a lasting memory.” Read more about all the work that has gone into the past 75 years on page 20


Government wakes up to loneliness

“I began to help with the baby clinic, in a room in the Town Hall; weighing the babies, listening to the young mothers’ problems. I helped in the clothes store, learning how to stack baby vests, jackets and leggings in piles of five; bonnets, bootees, and mittens in boxes.

Peter Sandground

a day in the life

Always different Elaine Grealey has been locality manager for Argyll & Bute, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire for a year. She loves the variety of the role What services do you help to look after? I’ve got a huge mix, including three shops, a café and tea bar, books and Meals on Wheels, Good Neighbours, befriending and a meet and greet at the hospital. They’re quite diverse and I’ve got great people within those teams supporting them. What’s the high point of your day? The best part for me is meeting the volunteers and thanking them for the work that they do. We have people who have done 40 years of volunteering in their communities. It’s quite amazing and rewarding to see. Do you get to visit a lot of different places? It’s a bit like the film Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I recently flew over to Campbeltown, on the Kintyre Peninsula, in

a wee six-seater plane, so some of it is really quite interesting. What kind of challenges can a typical day present? There are just never enough hours in the day to do what we want to do and you can’t always plan ahead. A Meals on Wheels van might break down, or the power could go out in one of the cafés, and it’s just how you prioritise and deal with those kinds of challenges. How do you take time out to unwind outside of your job? My home life is very busy with the family so I’m always rushing about. To relax I like to make cakes and I just recently completed my first five-tier cake for a friend’s wedding, although that was actually a bit stressful!

one of many Inspirational volunteers “A lady who has been a volunteer with us for many years does befriending in Inverclyde and has become very close to one particular service user,” says Elaine. “They love to visit each other and it’s now a highlight of their week. “When the service user had to go into hospital our volunteer continued to visit her there to make sure she was OK. “Now that she has moved into residential care our volunteer still makes the journey to see her. She doesn’t want to let her down.”

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Birthdays, awards, fundraising and new ventures‌ we open our photo album of events at Royal Voluntary Service

Dedication’s what you need Mary Lyle is the longest-serving member of Royal Voluntary Service Ballantrae Branch. So when Mary celebrated her 90th birthday, her fellow volunteers naturally decided to host a party. Mary joined the WVS in 1959, and since then has served Meals on Wheels, assisted in hospital canteens, collected for the Earl Haig Poppy Fund, and sold a great many raffle tickets! Model behaviour Dingwall staff and volunteers persuaded their local M&Co shop to host a glitzy fashion show in September, with all the proceeds going to Royal Voluntary Service. Models included Gillian and Catriona from Raigmore Hospital Shop in Inverness.

tea for three West Moors Home Library Service volunteers Judith Sweet and Elizabeth Bowler (pictured left and centre, respectively) received service badges and clasps from Locality Co-ordinator Lisa Knight (right). Judith was given a ten-year badge, while Elizabeth received ten and 20-year badges plus a long-service medal and first clasp. 14


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AROUND britain

70 years of service Mayor of Oldham Olwen Chadderton helped to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Broadbent Luncheon Club at a very special buffet meal. Club leader Jean Martin was presented with a 50-year long-service badge, and Irene Porter with a 20-year long-service badge. The mayor also met the club’s oldest members, Annie Boden, 97, and Betty Hughes, 93.

It’s an honour Nottinghamshire volunteers were recently recognised for their years of sterling service, and were presented with ten-year badges and 27-year clasps. The volunteers, from Bassetlaw Hospital shop and coffee shop and the Nottinghamshire Library Service, also enjoyed a buffet together.

Making their mark The Royal Voluntary Service Centre in Lancing was recently presented with a cheque for £12,000 from the Sussex Mark Benevolent Fund. Centre Manager Annick Lynn received the biggest single donation ever made to the service in Sussex – from members of the Sussex Mark Masons. COLWYN BAY The launch of a new hub in north Wales drew a large and varied group of attendees. The event, hosted at Colywn Bay Cricket Club on Tuesday 27 August, celebrated the arrival of the Conwy and Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham Hub, based in Llandudno.

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I enjoy it every minute I’m there



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Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Royal Voluntary Service, and each one brings something unique to their role. We meet just a few of our volunteers across britain, to find out what inspires them to share their time


Ann Dick helps run a social centre in the community hospital in Rothbury, Northumberland, and is part of the town’s Royal Voluntary Service emergency team

dave charnley


t was breathtaking,” Ann Dick says, describing her nomination as a Diamond Champion, a recognition of her 26 years of volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service. Ann, 74, from Rothbury, now sees the service as part of her life. The motivation to start volunteering came when Ann’s mother died, and she felt the need to do her bit. Encouraged by friend Helen Edes, another Royal Voluntary Service volunteer, Ann began by doing the accounts for the local Meals on Wheels service. Since then, she has continued to help the Rothbury community in a number of different roles and when the local Royal Voluntary Service social centre opened in March 2012, she gravitated towards it. “We have about 16 people who have been coming to the centre since we opened,” she says. “You get to know them very well. They’re lovely people and have such interesting stories. I enjoy it every minute I’m there. That’s the honest truth.” As well as benefiting from the social side of volunteering, Ann’s time with the service has given her a very positive view of the future. “Growing older doesn’t hold any fears for me whatsoever,” she says. “I think attitudes towards the elderly nowadays are

changing and that there’s actually more respect for older people. We’ve got younger people who work with us as well and they just blend in. The older users just love them.” Having worked as a sheltered housing warden for 32 years, Ann now sees volunteering as a way to keep busy and fulfilled. “When you retire, it’s difficult to fill your time, especially now that I’m a widow. “I lost my husband nine years ago and volunteering has done more for me than I think I do for it. It fills my life. I really enjoy what I’m doing and I don’t do any more than what hundreds of thousands of others do.”

Ann enjoys talking to visitors at the Rothbury social centre

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c e l e b r atin g


Aled Williams gives his time to help out at Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital in Bangor


’ve been a volunteer for 14 years,” says Aled Williams, 62, from Bangor, Gwynedd. “I help make the drinks, serve tea and coffee at the tables, and take the trolley along to the wards with the newspapers.” Before joining Royal Voluntary Service, Aled worked for 24 years as a milkman. He now keeps his rounds to the shop and tea bar every Monday to Friday. He’s also a keen photographer, travelling as far as Scotland to capture the sights of

I’m happy to be a voice that they know

Since Alan Casbard’s life took a new direction, he has been offering his services at the East Hertfordshire Community Car Scheme


charles best, matt horwood

lan Casbard, 66, from Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, had a busy career in the hectic print industry. On his 65th birthday, however, he was made redundant – a change that sparked a move towards volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service. “After I was made redundant I was pottering around my garden, but I needed something else to do,” says Alan. “I saw an advertisement for drivers in the local paper and applied, and I’ve been doing it ever since. “My parents, in their latter years, lived

Alan helps a client to an appointment



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80 miles away in Basingstoke. I couldn’t always get down there and they relied on neighbours, friends and services to get them to the doctors’ and hospital appointments. I always said that if ever the time came I would reciprocate, and I like to think I’m giving something back, just as those people helped my parents.” As a volunteer driver, Alan is out in his car three or four days a week, wherever and whenever he is needed. It’s a flexible approach that has seen him quickly build up a loyal group of service users. “I go to hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, retirement homes and the chemist. If anyone needs the service, they can give us a call and if I’m available I’ll do it. I’ve got my regulars, and we try to have a bit of a laugh.” Life in the driving seat for Royal Voluntary Service has certainly been an eye opener, says Alan, and has led to connections with people who needed a listening ear as much as a set of wheels. “Without question it’s rewarding,” he explains. “One particular lady had bowel cancer and was in a bad state, and I would give her a ring in the evening to see how she was doing. Now, thankfully, she’s been given the all clear. I’m happy to be a voice over the phone that they know.” He adds: “We are all living longer. I’m just doing my bit to help.”

VOLUNTEERS Edinburgh and beyond. But far from taking a break at the end of the week, when he’s not at Ysbyty Gwynedd he also lends his time with St John Ambulance. “I volunteer with St John’s at the weekends and I’ve been with them for 25 years. I’ve made a lot of friends.” The shop and tea bar can get very busy, says Aled, but despite the hard work he appreciates being part of hospital life. “Seeing the patients is one of my favourite parts of the job. They tell me I’m still young!” Perhaps there’s something about volunteering that keeps Aled youthful, and he’s keen for others to join him. “We’re short of volunteers on Friday afternoons,” he adds, “and we could always do with more people.”

Peter Hogg has been a telephone befriender in Hereford for the past ten months. Listening is important and very satisfying


very Tuesday I telephone the five people I’ve got on my list and just have a general chat. We talk about anything and everything,” says Peter Hogg. “I was already a volunteer at Royal Voluntary Service, starting in 2010, mainly on reception taking calls and meeting and greeting people at the centre, when telephone befriending was first set up. I said I’d love to give it a go.” Since he’s picked up the phone for Royal Voluntary Service, Peter has built up close relationships with the people he calls each week. They, in turn, welcome the opportunity to share stories about their lives and families. “The people I call have actually become personal friends,” says Peter. “For me, it’s a living history lesson. I like to think they look forward to the telephone calls because that’s the impression I get when I phone. I work in the construction industry, which can be very contractual and argumentative. This is something totally different to what I do day in day out.” For Peter, regularly meeting and

speaking with older people also shows the importance of looking at the personality behind the years. “I feel that when people know your age, they do tend to pigeonhole you. I believe everyone who reaches the age of 50 realises life is different to what it was before. Things change so you have to adapt. “I know it’s a cliché but I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people and until you’ve done it, it’s hard to understand or appreciate. “I walk away from the centre with a smile on my face.”

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75 c e l e b r atin g

years THE BEGINNING A letter dated 20 May 1938 heralded the beginning of what became the largest voluntary organisation in British history. It was from the Home Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, authorising Stella Isaacs, Lady Reading, to found the Women’s Voluntary Services. With war on the horizon, the new organisation was tasked with helping the nation cope. This role was reflected in the first ever WVS badge.


or three-quarters of a century, we’ve been coming together to tackle society’s great challenges. We’ve rolled up our sleeves and got on with it, through wartime and peace, always with good humour and great kindness. Celebrating our achievements doesn’t come naturally. As an organisation we are a modest bunch. What’s more, our practical nature means we have a tendency to look ahead to the next challenge, rather than reflect on what we’ve already accomplished. Nonetheless, since 1938 we have achieved great things and it is right for us, on the occasion of our 75th anniversary, to take a moment to reflect on this wonderful organisation. Together, we’ve inspired more than three million ordinary women and men to help make Britain a better place. We’ve helped protect our fellow citizens from wartime threats and created services that have made their lives happier and more manageable. In 2013 we have changed the name of our organisation and are facing new challenges. But it’s with the same spirit that we move forward. We take inspiration from the great things we have already achieved, as the largest voluntary organisation in British history, and look forward to our next 75 years. See more at, and share your memories by contacting us by email at



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On our anniversary, we look back at a glorious history and forward to fresh challenges


years of kindness

A NICE CUP OF TEA The restorative, uplifting power of a cup of tea is not to be taken lightly. Being served a cuppa can be a moment of kindness that gets you through the day. Throughout the Second World War, WVS offered tea and food in 930 static canteens, 120 mobile canteens and 25 railway station canteens. WVS catered for huge numbers, including serving 16,000 refreshments to passing troops at York Station over the course of one day in June 1940.


Britain declares war on Germany


Germany surrenders



anniversary timeline




MEALS ON WHEELS In December 1943 the first Meals on Wheels were delivered in Welwyn Garden City by WVS members, at the cost of 6d per meal. By November 1944, the WVS delivered 213 meals a month on two days every week. A second scheme was started in the neighbouring town of Letchworth shortly after November 1944, and by 1945 Meals on Wheels were being rolled out across the country. Ten years later the service was delivering one million meals a year across 320 areas. It’s not just the nutritional value of the meal that’s important – the service is a chance to see a friendly face.

RESPONDING TO THE TIMES After the Second World War, the WVS began to focus on social welfare. But as the Cold War developed, there was a need to ensure food and comfort could be provided for vast numbers of people in the event of a nuclear strike. WVS exercises took place throughout the 1950s as Britain prepared for the worst.

The National Health Service is formed


RECOGNITION OF LONG SERVICE Caring for older people has always been at the heart of WVS. One of the organisation’s initiatives in the 1960s was to encourage the donation of properties to create flats and residential clubs for older people. WVS also created flat-lets for young professional women of limited means, as well as havens for tired mothers needing time away from the stresses of home life.

The reign of Queen Elizabeth II begins


President John F Kennedy is assassinated



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years Decimal currency replaces pounds, shillings and pence

Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon




Reading to a boy in hospital, 1967

GOOD COMPANIONS By the 1970s, WRVS was offering a range of services in the community. The Good Companions scheme began in 1970 and was promoted by the Secretary of State for Social Services in 1976. The scheme matched volunteers with those in need of help with household chores, such as shopping. But Good Companions also provided much-needed company, and helped to reduce people’s sense of loneliness or vulnerability within their local community. WRVS/HQ/P/HH/HOST016, WRVS20110035, WRVS/HQ/P/SWO/GER149, WRVS/HQ/PUB/EP/PSTR-EP-007, WRVS/HQ/P/CD/FFS025


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A ROYAL ADDITION In 1966 Her Majesty the Queen granted WVS the honour of adding ‘Royal’ to its title. It was recognition of the hard work, accomplishments and kindness of the WVS in communities across the nation. WVS became known as Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS).


Virginia Wade wins at Wimbledon

FRIENDS SAY FAREWELL Volunteering for WRVS has always offered the opportunity to form bonds of friendship that last a lifetime. In 1985 the Surrey County Office found a novel means of marking one friendship by saying goodbye to their district organiser with a special pantomime (above).


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ALL CHANGE BUT THE MESSAGE REMAINS THE SAME In 1987, a government report into the supervision of charities, known as the Woodfield Report, set in motion a number of big changes for the 1990s. WRVS got its first chief executive, and became an independent charity no longer under the control of the Home Office. But the organisation’s commitment to reach those in our society most in need of its help remained undimmed.

anniversary timeline The Live Aid concerts take place in London and Philadelphia

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton wed

Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister




Fundraising at the Great North Run in the 1990s




YOUR MEMORIES In 2010, the WRVS Narrative Reports were awarded UNESCO UK Memory of the World status. This meant that stories of our volunteers and their kindness to others were given the same status as other nationdefining documents such as the Domesday Book.

THERE IN TIMES OF NEED WRVS is always on hand when the nation needs it, and it was no different on 7 July 2005 when a bombing campaign rocked London. During the first hours of that day, WRVS provided emergency rest centres at St Bart’s Hospital tea bar.

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Service with a smile 2013 The Chief Executive of Royal voluntary service, David McCullough, talks to action about what comes next THE NEXT 75 YEARS STARTS HERE WRVS gets a new name – Royal Voluntary Service – and plans for the future.

How much did you know about Royal Voluntary Service before you joined? Like most people of my age, I knew about the organisation, particularly Meals on Wheels. It’s always been well embedded into British culture. However, when I investigated a little further I was staggered at what the charity has done in the past and continues to do today. Why don’t people know more about us, and what we do? It’s because people are incredibly modest and don’t shout about what they do. Our way at Royal Voluntary Service is to roll up our sleeves and get on with it. Recently I was at one of our lunch clubs in Hampshire. It’s a place where people come



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anniversary timeline

a quick word what keeps you awake at night? Not being a good enough steward of this organisation. My job is to take Royal Voluntary Service and at some point hand it on bigger and better and fitter. 
 What did you think of this year’s Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s? I was proud of the organisation and our incredible history. Describe the spirit of Royal voluntary service in a sentence We show how ordinary, kind people can do amazing and wonderful things.

David wants to help older people feel connected to their community every week, enjoy a great home-cooked meal and have a chat. They describe the volunteers there as “kind” and kindness is absolutely central to everything we do. Why is now the right time to change the organisation’s name and brand? Whenever you have a big birthday you always stop and think for a bit. It’s a moment of reflection. We’d been hearing for a while that, although there are thousands of men who have volunteered for us, our previous name made a lot of prospective male volunteers – as well as those chaps who might use our services – think it wasn’t for them. We needed to change because it’s clear men need us just as much as women do. We are an organisation that has always tried to tackle the challenge of social change and we are at the start of a new journey. The ageing population is going to change the way society operates. Royal Voluntary Service is better placed to help that transition than any other organisation in the country.

What is the focus for the future? In ten years’ time we want to be supporting two million people and that means we are going to have to do things differently. We have to make it easy for people who need our help to find us and understand how we can help. That’s why we’re now using the term “good neighbours” to describe what we do. People get what that means – it’s very clear and that will help us reach more people. We also need to expand our presence in hospitals. We want to make getting to hospital as easy as possible for those we support and we want to make their stay there more comfortable. We also want to make sure that no-one has to leave hospital and arrive home to a cold, dark house. Working in the community is also really important to us. It’s about helping people help themselves. My mum and her neighbourhood are a perfect example of what I mean. She’s 83, fit and healthy, and independent. But she’s also lonely. Whenever it snows her neighbours pop over to make sure she’s OK. This is something she feels fine about, and so do they. But as soon as it stops snowing they all suddenly feel awkward about it – we need to help people feel that it is OK to help all the time. What the rapidly increasing population of older people in this country really want is to be connected and remain part of their community – and that, in a nutshell, is what we are all about.

We have always tried to tackle the challenge of social change, and we are at the start of a new journey

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fundraising Trek from the tranquillity of the desert to the bustle of a big city

A head for adventure Looking for a new challenge? Royal Voluntary Service can make it happen with fantastic fundraising events


here are many great ways landmarks of London and Paris, we’re excited to present challenges you’ll to help raise money for remember for the rest of your lives. older people, but it’s not often you get the As well as visiting some amazing chance to become places, on every step of the an intrepid explorer while journey you’ll also be helping doing them. We’re now GET ! us to raise the vital funds we offering volunteers and INVOLVED t how need so our volunteers can Find poauge 29 continue providing support supporters exactly that with on our first ever challenge events, to older people all over the which are sure to broaden your country. horizons, test your limits and make It’s time to fulfil those dreams of for excellent fun, too. adventure, so lace up those hiking From trekking across a wonder of boots, get on your bike, and achieve the world, to pedalling past the iconic something extraordinary for 2014!

Sahara Trek

Dates 31 October–9 November 2014 Duration: 10 days, 9 nights Difficulty: Moderate For a feeling of space and serene solitude, the incredible Sahara desert is unrivalled by anywhere else on earth. It’s a hostile but alluring landscape that varies from flat and stony expanses to wind-sculpted sand dunes, broken only by the occasional oasis. Accompanying you on this 60-mile journey through the desert are local Berber guides and a small caravan of camels carrying supplies. A special highlight of any trip to the Sahara has to be the incredible night skies, with evenings so clear that the view overhead is a blanket of stars. After the tranquillity of the desert you’ll have a free day exploring the sights and souks of Marrakech, which provide a colourful and merry ending to a successfully completed challenge.

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London Trekathon Date 30 August 2014 Duration: 1 day Difficulty: Tough

A true test for walkers, this one-day excursion will take you west from the Olympic Park in Stratford across leafy commons and alongside waterways, passing well-known sights including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral. After crossing through the heart of the city you’ll eventually reach the finishing point south of the Thames at Greenwich, alongside the Cutty Sark. It’s an ambitious route and you’ll certainly feel as well travelled as the famed tea clipper after this journey of around 26 miles through the ever-changing urban landscape.

Start your day’s walk at Stonehenge

stonehenge to avebury trekathon Date 28 June 2014 Duration: 1 day Difficulty: Tough

This challenging 26-mile walk will take you back through 6,000 years of British history, beginning at the world-famous standing stones of Stonehenge. The route then takes you through wildlife-rich chalk downs, dotted with ancient burial mounds, earthworks and mysterious white horses. You might even spot some crop circles, if you’re lucky! Throughout the day you’ll be well looked after by marshals, with stops for water, rest and refreshment.

Coast to Coast Lakes & Dales Cycle Dates 12–15 June 2014 28–31 August 2014 Duration: 4 days, 3 nights Difficulty: Moderate

Taking in some of the most spectacular and wild countryside that the UK has to offer, this challenge is to cycle the breadth of England. Starting from the west coast, you’ll be carving your way over the Cumbrian Mountains and southwards through the Lake District National Park. At the historic market town of Kendal you’ll have a little time to sample the area’s famous energy-giving mint cake before you cross into Yorkshire and the heart of the rolling Dales. It’s then a clear run on to your final destination, the east coast and the beautiful seaside port of Whitby. You’ll feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment after you’ve traversed a dramatic landscape that has inspired artists and writers for generations.



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fundraising Grab this chance to walk the Great Wall

Great Wall of China Trek

Sky’s the limit

Dates 18–28 September 2014 9–19 October 2014 Duration: 11 days, 10 nights Difficulty: Moderate This varied trek brings you to one of mankind’s most astonishing achievements. Begun in 500BC, the Great Wall of China is a formidable fortification that once kept ravaging hordes at bay and now attracts millions of visitors every year. Away from the tourist hustle and bustle you’ll follow the contours of the beautiful

London to Paris Cycle

hills and mountains in peaceful remoteness north of Beijing. You’ll walk on old sections of the Great Wall, as well as making your way along restored sections with their smooth flagstones and characteristic watchtowers. This special tour is one that allows you to explore a rich and ancient culture in an unforgettable location.

Catch some summer sun in style on one of the greatest cycle experiences in Europe. Pedal off from the urban sprawl of London and into Kent’s picturesque countryside, before crossing the Channel and setting your two wheels down again in northern France. On your way to the City of Light you’ll have plenty of time to admire the many small villages and medieval towns that have made this part of France so popular with cycling enthusiasts. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower rising out of the Paris skyline will be a welcome one and the grandest finishing post you’ve ever seen.

Dates 14–18 May 2014 11–15 June 2014 30 July–3 August 2014 3–7 September 2014 Duration: 5 days, 4 nights Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re looking to take fundraising to new heights, Royal Voluntary Service supporter Adam Bowles (above) has a suggestion. “At first I was a little apprehensive about signing up to jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet, but knowing I was going to be doing it in the name of a great charity spurred me on.” Adam has been inspired to do a skydive in March 2014, to raise funds for our work with older people, after visiting his nan in her care home and in hospital. He saw that while she had plenty of family and friends close by, many of her peers were not so fortunate and missed this contact. Adam says: “I know that all the money I raise will go towards helping Royal Voluntary Service continue to support thousands of vulnerable older people feel part of their community, and at the same time I will get to fulfil an ambition by leaping out of a plane!”

I know that the money I raise will support thousands of vulnerable people

If you’re interested in going

GET ! that extra mile and taking part a dream challenge, all the INVOLVED in while raising valuable funds Cycle round the Arc de Triomphe and other great Parisian landmarks

for Royal Voluntary Service – we want to hear from you! Please call us on 0845 600 2540, or email challengefundraising@

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The Queen of cakes Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry serves up her delightful Christmas cake recipe with a New World twist


his is a lighter version of the classic Christmas cake. It is very, very important to drain and dry the pineapple well. If it is wet, the cake may become mouldy. If you would like to decorate this cake with almond paste and royal icing, do not decorate with almonds and cherries before baking. method Preheat the oven to 160ºC/Fan 140ºC/Gas 3. Grease a 23cm (9in) deep round cake tin, and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. step 1 Cut each cherry into quarters, rinse and drain well. Drain and roughly chop the pineapple, then dry both the cherries and pineapple very thoroughly on absorbent kitchen paper. Snip the apricots into raisinsized pieces. step 2 Place the prepared fruit and nuts in a large mixing bowl with the grated lemon rind and sultanas and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well for one minute until smooth. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and decorate with blanched whole almonds and halved glacé cherries.

step 4 Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. step 5 You can glaze the cake if liked. Mix the sifted icing sugar with enough water to give a thin icing, and drizzle over the top of the cake. AGA Stand a grill rack in its lowest position in the large roasting tin, and place the cake on top. Slide the roasting tin on to the lowest set of runners in the Roasting Oven, with the cold plain shelf above on the second set of runners. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes until a pale golden brown – watch very carefully. Transfer the roasting tin and cake to the Simmering Oven and cook for about a further two and a half hours until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. preparing ahead Ideally, this cake should be made one month ahead and kept in the larder, covered with foil. This freezes well for up to two months. Thaw at room temperature for 12 hours.

step 3 Bake in the preheated oven for about two and a quarter hours until golden brown. Insert a skewer to test – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. It may be necessary after an hour to cover it loosely in foil to prevent it getting too brown.

I would love to wish Royal Voluntary Service all the best for their 75th anniversary and a Happy Christmas to all your readers



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american light christmas cake recipe Makes one 23cm (9in) round cake ingredients • 350g (12oz) glacé cherries • 1 x 200g (7oz) can of pineapple pieces in natural juice • 350g (12oz) no-soak dried apricots • 100g (4oz) whole blanched almonds, chopped • finely grated rind of 2 lemons • 350g (12oz) sultanas • 250g (9oz) self-raising flour • 250g (9oz) caster sugar • 250g (9oz) butter, softened • 75g (3oz) ground almonds • 5 eggs To decorate • whole blanched almonds • glacé cherries, halved To finish (Optional) • 100g (4oz) icing sugar, sifted

recipe A lighter version of a Christmas classic, decorated with almonds, cherries and a drizzle of icing

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As the cold weather arrives, follow our advice on the best ways to beat the big freeze

Keeping well this winter


inter time has its health implications for us all, but particularly for older people, which is why Royal Voluntary Service has teamed up with Bupa Care Services to help keep older people well during winter. Together with Bupa, we have developed a ‘Get Ready for Winter’ leaflet which includes some top tips to help older people prepare for winter, and to keep healthy, warm and well. These leaflets will be sent out to all Royal Voluntary Service hubs for you to give out to older people who would benefit from this advice. To help older people with eating well this winter time, Bupa Care Services has also produced a ‘Winter Warmers’ recipe booklet containing deliciously simple recipe ideas. With 300 care homes across the UK, leading care provider Bupa will also be holding winter wellnessthemed events in homes and community centres aimed at improving the health and well-being of older people during the cold months. Homes will open their doors to residents, their families and local communities, inviting them in to enjoy exercise, food and entertainment to help keep people well. In your role as a volunteer, you might know people who could benefit from a bit of extra support this winter. Bupa’s care homes offer short-term breaks of up to four weeks and you don’t need to have Bupa medical insurance to stay in a Bupa care home. This may be ideal for someone living on their own who wants some company or someone with a health condition that may worsen in winter to help them to get back on their feet. Short breaks also give carers the chance to recharge their batteries while offering their loved ones the reassurance of 24-hour care. 32


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MORE INFORMATION If you’d like to order more copies of the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ leaflet, please call 0845 608 0122 or visit royal voluntaryservice. If you know someone who would find a ‘Winter Warmers’ recipe booklet useful or would like more information about short-stay breaks please call 0333 9206414

winter advice

seasonal tips

When the cold comes calling, these few simple tips can help you to stay warm and well Heed your heating Make sure your home is warm enough. Your main living room should be between 18 and 21°C, and the rest of your house should be at a minimum of 16°C. You can also help cut cold draughts by putting a thick curtain over the front door. get Help with the bills Those who were born on or before 5 January 1952 could be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment, which provides between £100 and £300 tax-free towards heating bills. Dress smart Wrap up for the season with several layers of thin clothing, which will trap warm air between them. When going outside, along with a thick coat, gloves and a scarf, a hat can be essential to stop body heat being lost through the head. Keep moving Being physically active is not only good for body and mind, it’s a great way to stay warm too. If you can, and it’s not very cold, a brisk walk outside will get the circulation going. If you’re indoors, try not to sit still for too long. If you are less mobile, chair-based exercises or simply moving the arms and legs can help to generate heat. Eat well Balanced hot meals and hot drinks will provide warmth and energy throughout the day. Soups, stews and casseroles are the order for the season and it’s good to stock up on frozen food, especially vegetables, in case the weather is too cold or hazardous for you to get to the shops. Sleep tight A hot water bottle is invaluable during the cold nights, as is an electric blanket. Avoid using both together, however, as this can be dangerous. Thermal underwear or pyjamas and bed socks will also all help keep you warm right through to the morning. Stay soft Central heating can dry out your skin, and icy winds can cause chapped, sore lips. Look after your skin during the winter by using hand cream, moisturisers and lip balm.

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Our trolleys improve life for older people in hospital, and now you can play a part in making them better

Sign up for gold service A

s we celebrate our 75th anniversary year with stories of how we’re helping older people to live happier lives, it’s also important to focus on opportunities that will support the good work of our charity in the future. Many people may not realise that the retail aspect of what we do, with our cafés, shops and trolleys in hospitals across Britain, accounts for nearly £45 million of turnover each year. The money raised not only helps to support the NHS but, crucially, keeps Royal Voluntary Service thriving, supporting the continual growth and development of our hubs throughout the nations. One aspect of our retail work that we want to develop further is our trolley services, which we’d like to turn into ‘Gold Trolley’ services. To do that, we need you! We’ve recognised that we need to expand our trolley service, so that even more NHS patients can learn 34


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what Royal Voluntary Service has to offer them. We want to get our trolley services onto hospital wards five to seven days a week, up to three times a day, and that’s where you come in. We need more volunteers to become a friendly face visiting the bedside of patients who might not know about Royal Voluntary Service, providing them with an excellent service and telling them more about the range of services we offer both in the hospital and their community. Our aim is that each of our trolleys, and each of the dedicated volunteers who run them, should become the link from our shops and cafés to the community services we have waiting for people when they leave hospital. To help us make these trolley services a reality, we need more of our passionate and committed volunteers to support us. If you, or someone you know, are interested in becoming part of our ‘Gold Trolley’ service then please contact us on 029 2073 9000.



Behind the scenes

What keeps our shops, trolleys and cafes ticking over Almost ÂŁ1.5 million was spent on cups of tea at our sites last year

Chicken and Bacon is the best-selling type of Ginsters sandwich

ÂŁ8.4 million is spent on soft drinks every year Walkers Ready Salted are the most popular flavour of crisps


Wispas are our best-selling chocolate bars

170 trolleys are currently in operation

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We’ve met volunteers of all ages in our shops and services. Here we talk to Katie Rivers and Lily Duncan, both of whom volunteer in Royal Voluntary Service hospital shops

“It’s nice for people to see a friendly face” Katie Rivers, 15, Aberdare

date and that the shop is never looking empty. In between I’m grabbing the spray and cleaning the tables for the customers.

My mother got a job with Royal Voluntary Service so my whole family signed up. Through volunteering I get to spend time with my grandparents, my mother and my sister, and we’re all having fun.

Is it difficult to see customers who aren’t well?

What gave you the idea to volunteer?

What sort of volunteering do you do?

Most of the time I volunteer at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, not too far from where I live. I do a fourhour shift on a Tuesday and a Saturday, and every time I come out feeling happy. Give us an idea of your tasks. First I go into the stockroom and take notes on what we need. Then I make sure all the stock is in 36


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You do see quite a lot of people in wheelchairs with tubes in their arms, looking quite poorly. I try to be as happy as possible so that they know when they go to the shop it’s welcoming. It’s all part of the process of getting better.

What’s different about volunteering as a young person?

My age means I can’t do everything – I can’t handle cash, for example – but it doesn’t mean that the things that I can do aren’t important. I think it would be nice if there were more younger volunteers. Just having young people around can help our customers feel a lot better, and we learn things too.

take two volunteers

PICS: Matt Horwood, Peter Sanground

Katie is one of the next generation of Royal Voluntary Service volunteers

Lily has been a volunteer for more than 25 years

Lily Duncan, 88, PErth How long have you been volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service? I’ve just passed the 25-year mark. After doing a range of tasks including Meals on Wheels, I’ve been at the café/shop at Perth Royal Infirmary for 15 years. But you stop counting when you come to this age!

How did you get started?

There was a lady I knew who asked me whether I did anything in my spare time. I said yes – I was a hillclimber, I swam, I did Guides and country dancing. She said what about the WRVS. The next thing I knew I had a letter welcoming me to the service!

What are your main tasks?

I go in every other Friday morning, and I work the till most of the time. I get in just after eight and

there’s always somebody waiting to be served right away, then they come down from the wards for their papers.

Do you already know some of your customers?

I know some of the people who come to the café because I’ve lived here all my life. It’s nice for them to see a friendly face. I get a lot of people in who I think are older than me, then when I look a little more closely I remember they were in my Brownie pack!

Do you think it’s good to have younger people volunteering?

Yes, I do think younger volunteers should be coming through. They’re very active and very quick-minded – it’s nice to have that mix.

You were nominated as a Diamond Champion. Is that a boost? Well, I’m just glad the knees haven’t given out below me yet.

MORE INFORMATION If you know someone who’d like to volunteer with us, pass on our number, 0845 601 4670, or visit www. royal voluntary

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Time for a break

Find your comfiest chair and relax with our pleasing puzzles

Word wheel

How many words can you create from this Word Wheel? See if you can also spot the nine-letter word, which relates to this special issue of Action.


Prime time teaser You might have seen these faces somewhere before, but not in this particular order!




Can you name the three TV personalities who are merged together?



Sudoku Stretch your brain with these number challenges. Difficulty: easy

Difficulty: MEDIUM

8 9



3 8

4 1


6 8

1 1 8






4 9




4 9




2 4 1


2 3






5 7

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2 38


6 8

5 2

7 1



4 3







75th Anniversary Crossword

Winter Warmer Quiz

Help celebrate 75 years of Royal Voluntary Service with our special crossword. If you get all the clues, send it in for a chance to win a £50 voucher for It’s that time of year when the nights are M&S. Just send your entries to: drawing in. Here’s just the thing to keep you RVS Action 75th Anniversary Celebration by Crossword, Zag Think Publishing, busy for an evening, and warm up those grey Woodside House, 20-23 Woodside Place, Glasgow, G3 7QF. cells – our winter-themed quiz. And if you’re 1 2 3 4 5 stuck,Across it’s OK to ask a friend!

1 In which country the 1 Fare to are travel?



ski resorts Davos, so well Heofmeans 7 8 9 Klosters and St Moritz? 2 Name the(anagram) British duo who won(5,2,6) the ice dancing Gold Medal at the 1984 7 Olympics. One was asked to 10 11 12 13 14 15 Winter do so for victory 3 Which Shakespeare play 2 begins with (3)the lines “Now is the winter of 16 8 Immediately our discontent/ made glorious summer (2,1,6) by this 17 son of York”? 10item S (7) 4 Which of winter 21 22 23 18 19 20 headgear is named after 13 fought R (5)on a battle 25 October 1854 during 3 16 2013 - 1938 (7the Crimean War? 24 25 26 4) Prime 5 Which Labour Minister was defeated 18 How child might by Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 Generalone address 27 Election,parent following the (5) ‘Winter of Discontent’? 6 What21is the termovenproof given to the two times Small Name.................................................................................................................. of the year (one in winter and one in baking dish (7) Address.............................................................................................................. summer) when the sun is at its greatest 18 Birds of peace distance from the equator? 24 V (9) .......................................................................... Postcode.................................. (5) 7 What is the sleep-like condition adopted Across Down 26 animals Bless them ---, by some in winter? 19 To dig into1 Fare or to travel? He means so well 1 Unpretentious (6) Vera Lynn song (anagram) (5,2,6) 2 Rage (5) research (5) Answers on page 41 7 One was asked to do so for victory 3 Relating to sight (5) (3) (3) 4 Used to be (3) 20 Longing (3) 7 27 Founding lady; 8 Immediately (2,1,6) 5 Tropical wood for piano keys (5) 10 S (7) 6 Artillery ammunition (5) 22 Concur (5) lasting leader 13 R (5) 9 Sailor (3) 16 2013–1938 (74) 11 Intense, bright (5) (anagram) (6,7) 23 Common 18 How child might address one 12 Go in (5) military uniform parent (5) 14 Kind of oil used in cooking (5) colour (5)21 Small ovenproof baking dish (7) 15 Royal Voluntary Service focus (3) Down 24 V (9) 16 Ocean (3) 26 ‘Bless ‘em ---’ – Vera Lynn song 17 Disconnect (6) 25 Popular wartime 1 Unpretentious (3) 18 Birds of peace (5) song 'Everything 27 Founding lady; lasting leader 19 To dig into or research (5) (6) (anagram) (6,7) 20 Longing (3) stops for ...' (3) 22 Concur (5) 2 Rage (5) 23 Common military uniform colour (5) 3 Relating to sight 25 Popular wartime song (5) ‘Everything stops for...’ (3)

4 Used to be (3) 5 Tropical wood

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ACTI N Action is produced by Royal Voluntary Service’s internal communications team. Stories to share? Please get in touch with Joanna Jones or Kath Owens by email at, or by calling on 029 2073 9000. OUR AMBITION Our older generation made this country great and they deserve a fulfilled old age. We will unleash the power of volunteering to make Royal Voluntary Service great again, so that we can enrich the lives of older people. Our ambition is to help improve the lives of two million (almost 1 in 6) of the older generation by 2023. Royal Voluntary service Royal Voluntary Service is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 2520413. Registered office Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RP. Registered charity 1015988 (England and Wales) & SCO38924 (Scotland) Join us, support us To find out about volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service call 0845 601 4670. To make a donation to support our work call 0845 607 6524

Let’s face the future

WRVS BENEVOLENT TRUST For volunteers in sudden financial need. Write to PO Box 567, Tonbridge, TN9 9LS or call 07894 060 517

Rising to the challenge


here has never been a better time to be alive. Technology is improving the quality of our lives every day. Developments in healthcare, nutrition and housing have meant that we are living longer than ever before. In 1948, half the population died before their 65th birthday. In the next five years, another three million people will celebrate their 65th birthday. It is an extraordinary achievement, but it brings with it challenges we have never encountered before, and at a time when the deepest financial crisis in living memory. This is a time of immense upheaval: l Pensions are under attack l Benefits are being slashed l Social services are being cut back. Older people need more help, and there are more older people than ever before. But there are also more volunteers. Millions of people are retiring from fulltime work or family commitments; they are fit, healthy and energetic, and they are

PATRON Her Majesty The Queen PRESIDENT HRH The Duchess Of Cornwall

searching for a purpose. Their own needs are small, but they have much to give. To rise to the new challenges we face, we must recruit this new generation of volunteers and reinvigorate our organisation to support them. We must stay true to the ethos that has guided Royal Voluntary Service for 75 years, while evolving to keep pace with the modern world. When we look back at the history of Royal Voluntary Service, the time when we played our greatest role was one of extraordinary change. The war had ended an era, Britain was transforming itself into a modern society and our volunteers stepped forward to make a difference. We brought people together across the country and united them with a common purpose. We are again living in a time of change. Again, there are people in need. And again, there are those who would step forward to make a difference. It is the duty of Royal Voluntary Service to be there for them, and we will be. Thank you for being a part of it.

Publisher Published on behalf of Royal Voluntary Service by Think, The Pall Mall Deposit, 124-128 Barlby Road, London W10 6BL Editor: Clare Harris Contributing Editor: Jack Kibble-White Sub-editors: Ellen Arnison, Andrew Littlefield Designers: Mark Davies, Phil Long Writer: Alec Mackenzie Publisher: John Innes Managing Director: Polly Arnold ADVERTISING Adam Lloyds 020 8962 1253, © 2013 Royal Voluntary Service. All rights reserved. Every reasonable endeavour has been made to find and contact the copyright owners of the images and works included in this magazine. However, if you believe a copyright work has been included without your permission, please contact us at Royal Voluntary Service Action is printed on FSC paper coming from a well-managed forest. The publishers cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. Views of contributors and advertisers do not necessarily reflect the policy of Royal Voluntary Service or those of the publishers.

Please pass on this magazine or recycle when finished.


Answers to the Winter Warmer Quiz (Page 39) 1. Switzerland, 2. Torvill and Dean, 3. Richard the Third, 4. Balaclava, 5. James Callaghan, 6. Solstice, 7. Hibernation

winter 2013



scrap book

Volunteers sorting children’s clothing at one of WVS’ exchanges during the Second World War

Make do and swap


ith Britain effectively under siege during the Second World War, rationing of life’s essentials became a defining aspect of the home front experience. Leading the movement to help keep the country’s youngsters clothed in the face of textile shortages were WVS volunteers like those pictured here, taking part in an innovative recycling project. In 1943 WVS began organising children’s clothing exchanges where women could bring good quality clothing that had been outgrown. Each mother would be given points for the clothes they handed in and these could then be used to pay for alternative



winter 2013

garments. WVS also managed depots of donated clothing for distribution to families who had lost their homes and possessions in air raids. By 1944 there were around 400 clothing exchanges nationwide, and different towns had varying rules on how they operated. In Grimsby, for example, football boots could only be exchanged for an equivalent pair of boots, “due to the dearth of these articles”. A newspaper story from the period about the Edinburgh WVS clothing exchange notes, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the “items of clothing most frequently in demand are heavy coats, raincoats, shoes, and rubber footwear”.


Volunteers provide a vital wartime service for growing families

FREE WILL SERVICE Make or change your Will free of charge with the National Free Wills Network – help us be there for older people. We know that making or updating your Will is easy to put off, which is why we’ve teamed up with the National Free Wills Network to offer you the opportunity to make or update your Will free of charge, written by a fully qualified solicitor. Our Free Will Service is an easy way to make a difference to a cause you believe in. By leaving a gift in your Will you can help us create a future where no older person feels alone. Your gift will help us to continue to offer companionship to isolated older people across Britain through services like our Good Neighbours Schemes. 

To find out how we can help you make or change your Will, contact Amy John on 029 2073 9096 or email This is a limited offer open to anyone aged over 55. We agree to cover the cost of a simple single or mirror Will and there is no obligation to leave a legacy to Royal Voluntary Service, but a gift of any size would make a real difference to our work in the future. Royal Voluntary Service, Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff, CF23 8RP Registered charity 1015988 & SC038924. A limited company registered in England 2520413

Too many people Think of VolunTeers as a means To an end, as cheap labour. True VolunTary serVice is noThing of The kind. iT is, in facT, The gifT of a ThoughTful person of Their skill, Their energy and Their Time. Lady Stella Reading

noT in iTs noT in iTs head g.

can record .

it is the duty of royal Voluntary service to be there for our volunteers, and we will be. Thank you for being a part of what we do.


Winter 13: Celebration 75 years of RVS

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