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Your view on what we do

Windsor volunteers party like it’s 1940

Text Santa to help WRVS

Impact, p6

News, p4

National News, p5

North Bristol’s £460k boost BRISTOL


RVS presented North Bristol NHS Trust with a fantastic gift of £460,000, marking a hugely successful 60 year partnership. The money was raised by 141 of our dedicated volunteers over the six services we have at Frenchay and Southmead hospitals.

The trust will use £245,622 to improve the quality of care to dementia patients, including the purchase of equipment. The rest of the money will be used for other projects based in the hospital. “This is a truly phenomenal sum of money and on behalf of everyone at the trust I would like to thank WRVS,” says Chief Executive of North Bristol NHS Trust Ruth Brunt. “This will enable us to buy equipment and make changes that will benefit patients, staff and visitors for many years to come.” “We have enjoyed a strong partnership with Frenchay and Southmead hospitals,” says Head of Services Stephen Hargreaves. “It is wonderful to be able to present the Trust with Frenchay volunteers dressed up at a tea party to mark WRVS’ 60-year such a fantastic sum of money.” association with Bristol NHS Trust, serving a selection of cakes


Up for the cup BRISTOL

Volunteers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary coffee shop raised more than £350 for the Up for a Cuppa campaign. The money was raised by offering free tea and coffee to customers and asking them to make a donation.


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CONTENTS 1-4 5 6 8 10 12 13 14 15 16

Regional news National news Impact: Workforce survey 2011 Issue: WRVS leads debate Our work From the archives Take two volunteers Just ask A day in the life Get in touch


“We’ve had a huge surge in the number of people wanting to volunteer with us”

your letters I’ll miss Marple I am retiring in August after being the Treasurer and Organiser for the Marple Luncheon Club for 31 years. I will miss my friends but I am staying on to cook once a month for the time being, to keep in touch. We are pleased that the local council is improving the kitchen facilities so we can carry on. Wendy Atkinson, Marple

Donhead at 60

The Donhead Happy Gathering Club is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year. They usually have a speaker or some entertainment, afternoon tea s you’ll see on the back page, we’ve made a and a stall of some description. few changes to our regional boundaries, so I know they are planning a I’d like to send a warm welcome to all readers of celebration on April 20th and this new South West edition. I’m keen to feature are hoping to also celebrate with a lunch outing, as they as many of your stories as possible in action, did for their 50th anniversary. so please get in touch with your local service Violet Phillips, Dorset


delivery Manager to let them know what’s happening in your area. It’s been another busy year for us all and we’re finishing 2011 on a high note. We’ve had a huge surge in the number of people wanting to volunteer with us thanks to the Hairy Bikers’ BBC2 show about Meals on Wheels, and now we’re about to feature in Text Santa, a major new seasonal fundraising event on ITV1. You can read more about this on page 5. It’s great to know that our work is so highly valued, and we enter 2012 – the year that will see our new ways of working roll out nationwide – with a confident spring in our step. Before then, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I sincerely thank you for all you do for WRVS. Steven Hargreaves, Head of Services South West


Familiar faces Since working with WRVS at Sussex Eye Hospital, I have had a number of positive comments from staff and patients at the hospital regarding the continuity of WRVS staff here. Customers are of the opinion that they much prefer to buy food and

drink from WRVS staff they are familiar with and with whom they can establish a rapport. Ian Studd, Sussex

Keep it in the family There are a lot of unsung heroes in WRVS. I know one lady of 89 who turns up for duty every week and is always ready to do extra duties if required. Her name is Isabel Reid. Isabel and her daughter Linda Reid joined together 20 years ago. They received their 15-year long-service medal recently. I have never known of a mother and daughter to get their medals together. Joan Rose, Aberdeen

Towards a greater understanding of dementia Dementia is hard for families to understand. No one likes to think it’s happening to his or her parent. I used to manage a scheme in Sheltered Housing where there was ongoing training to keep us up to speed. There needs to be more articles on the signs and symptoms of dementia; for example, how medical problems can make symptoms more severe. Barbara Fry, Kent

As you can see below, we tweet news as it happens. Follow us on Twitter @WRVS Ahh – lovely WRVS volunteers who deliver over 5000 bags of Books on Wheels to be rewarded – Thank you! WRVS community volunteers and staff called out to assist emergency services at Gleision Colliery WRVS volunteers help out at rest centre in Nottinghamshire after local residents evacuated by Fire & Rescue – thank you! WRVS presents NHS Lanarkshire with ‘gift’ for £125,000

Want to tell us about your good work? Write to us (enclosing pictures for news stories): action South West, WRVS Cardiff Gate, Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RP email us:

The WRVS vision is a world where every older person has the opportunity and choice to get more out of life

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in a nutshell

a handy guide to WRVS services in your area

Cheltenham General Hospital


heltenham General Hospital has one WRVS shop, two tea bars and a trolley round. Local Service Manager Aneta Zielonka (pictured) looks after between 50 and 60 volunteers. The services’ annual turnover is around £170,000 and last

3 Carole Brooks C

arole Brooks recently completed her 25th year as a WRVS volunteer. In 1986 she started volunteering in a small coffee shop, later running a trolley service before working in the Cheltenham General Hospital WRVS shop. “Carole is a very valuable person, full of energy and always with a smile on her face,” says Local Service Manager Aneta Zielonka “We would like to say a big thank you, Carole, for all you have done for WRVS.” Carole is pictured here in the shop holding her medal and a bouquet of flowers. If you know someone special who should be your next Local Hero, then let us know. See page 16 for contact details.

Aneta Zielonka



year the volunteers gifted an impressive £55,000 back to the hospital. The shop is open from 8am until 7pm Mon-Fri and from 8am until 4pm at the weekends. One of the tea bars is in the oncology unit, which is open from 8.30am until 5pm Mon-Fri and another tea bar is located in W Block, open from 8.30am until 4pm Mon-Fri. Anyone interested in volunteering at Cheltenham General can call Aneta on 01242 273523.




How do you cope with winter weather? “When it was difficult for Doreen to get out and buy her shopping it was my job to get to her and help in whatever way I could, sometimes just to fetch the papers. Other times, to get her out for a little walk, I had to keep positive, regardless of the weather, and even without transport I’d always manage to visit her.” Lyndsey Bennett, South East “Living close to the hospital where I do my duties, I did not notice any problems. But members living in the country had plenty of transport difficulties.” Maureen Ross, Scotland “The snow made it difficult but those who struggled through the Arctic conditions were rewarded with a lovely coffee, tea or hot chocolate!” Rebecca Dykes, North East For more on how to prepare for the cold turn to page 10 Next issue’s question: Tell us about a friend you’ve made through WRVS? Send or email your answer, name, photo and details to the address on page 16.

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I Spam and jam on Windsor WWII menu

t was spam and jam sandwiches all round when volunteers held a World War Two tea party in Windsor recently. Pat Willis and Betty Cooper served spam, corned beef, cheese, and jam sandwiches, just like in 1940, followed by lots of cakes. John Simmonds from Maidenhead Meals on Wheels describes the scene: “They supplied tea and coffee not only to invited guests but also to all the organisers and helpers. With people requesting second and third cups, volunteers worked

tirelessly for the entire length of the party making sure nobody was without a drink. “It was a momentous task reminiscent of our ladies supplying refreshment to our troops during the war.”

New chapter for Betty TEIGNMOUTH


etty Ayress, 80, has retired from WRVS after 37 years of loyal service with the Home Library Service, or Books on Wheels, in Teignmouth. For many of those years she has been the local organiser and was responsible for making sure that people unable to get to the library did not go without some decent reading material. A small presentation was held at the library where Betty was given gifts from the library staff and presented with a bouquet of flowers and chocolates by

Local Service Manager Pam Mayall. Volunteer Jeanette Dellow has taken Betty’s place as the new local organiser. “Betty was very surprised at all the fuss. She is a lovely lady who deserves the recognition,” says Library Manager Pauline Anderson. “The service still needs more volunteers to continue the good work.” Anyone interested in this valuable community service can contact Teignmouth Library on 01626 774646 or ring Betty Ayress receiving flowers from Pam Mayall (middle) and Jeanette Dellow (left), the new local organiser Pam Mayall on 01404 871397.

TV chef Rick pays for dinner

On-ward dementia champions BRISTOL


ristol hospitals are putting WRVS volunteers on wards CORNWALL to help improve dementia care. Cornwall-based The two city hospital trusts are celebrity chef Rick working together to develop the Stein has donated role of ‘dementia champions’ to £600 to Meals on support patients. Wheels through With an ageing population, Janice Walker from Gosport in his charitable more people are affected by Cornwall Community Hampshire was one of our lucky dementia and sufferers are Cashcascade prize draw winners, expected to rise by 40 per cent Foundation. receiving a cheque for £2,000. The TV favourite is in the next 15 years. As well as Thousands of our supporters a well-known figure in looking at bringing volunteers Padstow where he runs a enjoy taking part in these and onto Bristol hospital wards, number of restaurants. The we give away hundreds of prizes managers are studying ways to each year, while raising over money will help WRVS with make admissions less daunting £1.5million to help older people. for people with dementia. food services in the county.

Cashcascade winner

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NATIONAL NEWS nationwide

Text Santa this Christmas and help WRVS in new TV appeal ITV charity event set to raise money for six good causes EVENT

We are very excited to be working with ITV on a brand new initiative that will raise money for vulnerable people over the Christmas period. The ‘Text Santa’ appeal will centre around two entertainment spectaculars featuring major names from television, music and show business. Viewers will be invited to text Santa and leave a donation, which will then be split equally between five UK charities and one partnership of children’s hospitals who have been chosen as the appeal’s beneficiaries. Terrific news “This is terrific news for WRVS, for all those who volunteer and those who benefit from our services,” says Verity Haines, WRVS Director for Fundraising and Engagement. “To be selected as one of the charities

WRVS and the following charities will benefit Carers UK helps 6 million UK carers Crisis UK supports single homeless people Samaritans provides confidential emotional support for those in distress or despair Help the Hospices campaigns for care for the terminally ill Great Ormond Street Hospital Helping Hand Charity supports the work of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children The Noah’s Ark Appeal supports the Children’s Hospital for Wales Yorkhill Children’s Foundation helps sick children and babies at Yorkhill Hospital

to benefit shows how valued our work is. With the help of ITV1 we can deliver even more services to the older people who need them. Christmas can be an extremely lonely time for older and vulnerable people but through Text Santa, WRVS will be able to ensure as many people as possible will benefit from our Good Neighbours, befriending schemes and local lunch clubs.” PR partners Text Santa will also be supported by Asda nationwide and Global Radio via their award-winning Heart radio network. You’ll see the Text Santa campaign in shops, online and on ITV1. Thanks to the support of Freud Communications, the PR team behind Comic Relief, you won’t be able to miss it! To find out more go to

Volunteers at two WRVS shops, along with local MP Michael Ellis, presented Northampton General Hospital with a cheque for £71,750 earlier in the year … The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne unveiled a plaque thanking WRVS for their most recent donation that helped buy CAT scanning equipment … A new WRVS Book Trolley service will deliver books to patients at Monklands and Wishaw General Hospitals, North Lanarkshire, thanks to the generosity of WH Smith and the foresight of NHS Lanarkshire … Resilience and Recovery volunteers in Bedfordshire helped support police during an operation to rescue 22 people allegedly being kept as slaves in a travellers’ site … WRVS has gifted an impressive £460,000 to North Bristol NHS Trust that will help improve dementia care and the maternity unit … WRVS volunteers at University Hospital Llandough have been thanked for raising more than £50,000, used to buy equipment for the Breast Centre … The Monday Welcome Stroke Club in Stockport celebrated its Silver Jubilee with a special lunch in August, also presenting a long-service medal to Edna Whitmore to mark her retirement after more than 30 years of volunteering

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Workforce survey 2011

It’s your views that will shape our future. With the results of our first workforce survey in, here’s our overview of what you think about WRVS

Learning from you W

e recognise that the secret to our success is the people who volunteer and work for us. That means it’s really important to find out what you think of WRVS – where we excel and where we are currently falling short. Earlier this year we sent out our workforce survey to a cross-section of WRVS volunteers and employees. It has proven to be a very useful exercise and has helped us shape a clearer picture of the organisation today. Proud to work here Of the 1,351 people who responded, a very high percentage told us that they know what to expect from the organisation (92 per cent). An even greater number told us they are proud to work here (96 per cent), with 96 per cent also expressing that they enjoy their role. These figures, impressive in themselves, also compare very favourably with other charities and organisations. The message coming through is that volunteers and staff feel they are treated

with dignity and enjoy the camaraderie and the tremendous satisfaction they get from meeting and helping people. The survey also indicates that the majority of you (78 per cent) find your manager to be supportive, and feel trusted to make decisions related to your role. If something isn’t working then you are happy that you can raise it as an issue without worrying about it.

Volunteers and staff enjoy the camaraderie and the tremendous satisfaction they get from meeting and helping people More feedback required While these findings are all very positive, any survey worth its salt should throw up areas where further work is required, and the workforce survey is no exception.

Receiving constructive feedback came up as an issue, with only 39 per cent of you reporting that this happens on a regular basis. Similarly less than half (48 per cent) of you believe you are encouraged to contribute ideas to benefit WRVS, or come up with new ideas to do with your own role (44 per cent). Feeling connected Some concerns were also raised regarding how connected you are with the organisation as a whole. Only 57 per cent of survey respondents said they feel involved in what happens at WRVS, while a similar number (58 per cent) said they receive regular updates about what is going on in their region or department. Along with direct responses to the survey questions, we received a huge number of comments, many of which suggested there should be more meetings, more contact, better communication and a little more appreciation shown of the work that you do.

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enjoy and are proud of their work with WRVS


would recommend WRVS as a good place to work

57% feel involved in what happens

Listening to what you told us “Some of the satisfaction levels indicated by your responses are very high indeed,” says Alastair McDougall, Director for People, “and while you’ve told us before in more informal ways that you enjoy what you do and are proud to be part of WRVS, it’s good to know this is backed up by the survey data. “However, the true value of doing these surveys is to be able to see the areas where there is significant agreement about what we need to do better and we’ve highlighted some actions we’ll take (see right) as a result of your feedback. These will become part of our new ways of working. “Exercises such as the workforce survey are vital to ensure we’re moving in the right direction. As you know, we have ambitious plans to do even more to support older people but we won’t achieve this without you. People are the key to our future success. We can’t promise to get everything right all of the time, but we can promise to listen to what you tell us.”

Thanks to your comments we are planning to... Hold more face-to-face meetings, so we can tell you more about our plans and how we’re doing and hear more of your comments and suggestions. Set up information and communication forums (and appoint representatives for these) so we can communicate with you more effectively about what’s happening in the organisation and to encourage you to get involved in future plans. Publish a staff directory that will let you know ‘who’s who’ and help you get to grips with the new roles in WRVS.

44% are encouraged to come up with good ideas


are involved in decision-making

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WRVS leads debate As government spending cuts begin to bite, WRVS Head of Public Policy Matthew Sowemimo explains how our research is giving politicians food for thought

Save our services T

imes are hard and we’re all feeling the pinch. We make daily decisions about what we can and can’t afford. If we’re lucky it might just be a few treats, but for some the decisions are more critical, leaving them with no choice but to cut back on essentials such as food or heat. Similar decisions, to cut back on services, are being made in governments and Matthew local councils throughout Sowemimo the land and some of those cuts are beginning to have a real impact on the lives of hundreds and thousands of older people. With the weight of experience behind us, we’re passionately challenging the decisions of where the axe should fall… and we’re gathering more support for our stance all the time. Every week our volunteers support thousands of older people and get to see how the cuts affect them. Through our Shaping Our Age project we have talked to

older people and learned what they believe will help them improve the quality of their lives. They tell us that the services that are most important to them are those that help them overcome isolation and loneliness and give them the chance to get out of their own homes, meet others and take part in new leisure activities. Scaling back services Unfortunately, it seems that those are exactly the type of services that are most likely to be scaled back or removed completely by local authorities in many parts of the UK. Older people in North London have told us that, now their day centre is closed, they have nowhere to go to meet their friends . Meanwhile, others report that they no longer qualify for essential help around the home. As you can imagine, reaction to these measures has been strong, with some people going so far as to take the matter to court.

Campaigning for change So we’re campaigning to bring about major change in the services available to older people in England, Scotland and Wales. There are big decisions being made and we want to make sure the decision-makers take into account the priorities of older people. Thanks to our experience, particularly gained through our volunteers, we know this better than most and this earns us the right for our views on the future of care services to be heard. Powerful evidence We’ve gathered powerful evidence that shows the long-term benefits of investing in services such as ours that connect older people with the rest of their communities. We’ve shared this information with MPs and shown them the positive effect WRVS services have in their constituencies. Many of the MPs we’ve spoken to agree with us and, armed with our research, they debated the issue in the House of

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What is Shaping Our Age? The WRVS Shaping Our Age project aims to provide practical answers to the issues around ageing that face us all. It has two key concerns - older people’s well-being and their involvement. This is especially important because of the frequent failure to involve older people in issues affecting their lives. Shaping Our Age provides an opportunity to harness the positive potential of older people while ensuring them the kind of support they need for the challenges ahead. The project will also help gather evidence needed for WRVS and other providers of services to older people to improve the well-being of older people across the nation. To find out more go online at

Shaping Our Age aims to take the debate to the House of Commons

Commons on 6 September, pressing the minister to make a stronger commitment to preventative care. Tracy Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, went so far as to specifically highlight the importance of WRVS services. We should be heard We have found our voice in the national policy debate. It’s a big step forward for us and we’re now reaching out to new champions and allies, including those in the medical profession, who can help give us a louder voice. You can help too and we’ll be explaining exactly how in future editions of action.

Older people in North London who used to attend day centres to meet with their friends now have nowhere to go

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Winter 2011




Joining the WRVS team S

o, first of all – hello to those of you taking the time to read this and thank you for my warm welcome to WRVS. By the time you are reading this I will have officially started my new job, but in the last few months I’ve also been lucky enough to meet quite a lot of the WRVS team in a kind of informal ‘induction’. That has really helped me to feel settled and very much at home. I thought I should share my initial impressions with you, which are split into two: Firstly, people outside the organisation that I have told about my new job have either expressed surprise that WRVS is still alive and kicking (hardly ever “who?” but “are they still going?”), or they have immediately shared a warm personal story about how they or their family have volunteered with or have been helped by WRVS and how they have fond feelings for the organisation and the work that it does. Secondly, having met a number of you and heard about the work that you are all doing I have been genuinely amazed and impressed at the scale and the quality of what WRVS is achieving. When I’ve described to others (despite my limited knowledge), the quality of our work, how essential it is and how the need for WRVS is growing and growing, everyone shares my enthusiasm and immediately understands why I want to be a part of helping such a fantastic organisation to continue to grow.

“There is a growing need for what we do”

behind the scenes and Development. “We know how important eLearning win training and development is for WRVS to our staff and volunteers. WRVS has scooped the Charity WRVS operate across Great Learning Consortium’sward Britain, so eLearning offers for its eLearning programme. a big saving for the charity WRVS took the top prize in while ensuring we offer the ‘Getting started, or consistent quality restarted, on your eLearning training.” journey’ category. “We’re delighted to win this award which recognises the work of the team and everyone who has signed up to eLearning,” says Richard Bragg, pictured below with Martin Baker CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium and Sharon Barwood WRVS Head of Learning AWARDS

It’s always dangerous to make sweeping statements when you know very little, but I guess that my initial experiences encapsulate our challenges for the next few years. We have a fantastic organisation, full of thousands of people who are making a difference to their communities; a growing need for the sort of work that we do, but an increasing lack of organisations who can fund or meet that demand; a wonderful history that informs and guides our practical work, with a huge store of personal warmth from those who have been touched by WRVS – but a huge gap in people’s awareness and understanding of how WRVS can help them and their families. As challenges go, I think those are pretty exciting. There’s a lot of hard work ahead and of course lots of change for us to grapple with. But, I’m absolutely sure that the more we can do, the more people we can help, the more our voice is heard and the more we can give each individual what they need – then the more we can change our society and the more we can make Britain a really positive place in which to grow old. I am very proud to have the chance to work with you all and I hope that in the next few months you will let me know what I can do to make your work easier and to help you make even more difference over the years ahead. David McCullough, Chief Executive WRVS


Olympic records The Olympics are coming next year. But what of years gone by? Perhaps you’ve been a spectator at a previous Olympics or taken part as a competitor? If so, we would love to hear from you. We’d also like to hear from anyone who takes part in veteran sporting activities, or from those of you who might be planning any Olympicthemed events or parties locally. If you have a story to share, please email action@ or contact us at the Cardiff Gate office (address on the back page).


Get ready for winter

WRVS is a partner in the Government’s new Get Ready for Winter campaign, which is timed to encourage people to think about preparations they may need to make for the winter ahead. For helpful advice on how to deal with the cold weather, go to Meanwhile in Scotland, is a website that is providing information, advice and tips to make sure everyone is prepared for possible severe winter weather conditions.

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second guide to... Resilience and Recovery teams What are WRVS Resilience and Recovery teams? Resilience and Recovery teams support communities and individuals in times of emergency throughout the UK.

How a bit of company saves cash Befriending helps older people and the NHS


Dorset doctor has proved just how valuable a WRVS befriending service can be – not only for the well-being of the older person who receives the service, but also in terms of time and money saved. GP Anne Hayden felt that isolation and loneliness was causing one of her patients to panic, and so she referred them to a Befriending service. The results were plain to see. “The quality of life for this patient has greatly improved,” says Dr Hayden. “She now has regular telephone calls with a befriender and is no longer suffering from medically

Farewell to friends

Costing the NHS less Dr Anne Hayden identified a small, but significant, number of patients with longterm conditions or medically unexplained symptoms, that made them a financial burden on the NHS. Over an 18-month period one older patient had cost the NHS Primary Care Trust £20,000. The expenditure had stacked up due to emergency hospital admissions, respite care for medically unexplained symptoms and numerous other consultations. After referring the patient to the befriending scheme, Dr Hayden believes their health has improved and their outlook on life has changed dramatically for the better.

Remembering those the WRVS family has sadly lost in recent months: May Haywood, Folkestone;

unexplained symptoms.” WRVS manages the Dorset befrienders scheme and works in partnership with the Bournemouth and District Samaritans. WRVS befrienders initially visit in pairs and offer practical help for small jobs such as changing a light bulb, sorting out repairs for faulty appliances, being present when repairs take place and generally offering support and reassurance. They’ve even been known to help out older people who are in need of a new hearing aid, or who are on the hunt for a new kettle. “Dr Hayden’s report is powerful stuff,” says South West Head of Services Steven Hargreaves, “and clearly demonstrates the health outcomes and the savings to the NHS from focused support services.” Ida Higgins, Barry; Peter Jupe, Horsham; Joan Knowles, Wigan; Joyce Emily (Joy) Parker, Bromley

Who do they help? Many organisations ask for our help in times of need, including National Government, the devolved administrations, local authorities, health organisations and the emergency services. We help set up rest centres, provide shelter, information, refreshment and, most importantly, support and comfort when it’s needed most. Can anyone join? Yes, WRVS Resilience and Recovery teams are always looking for new and former volunteers to join their local teams. Full training is provided and joining can help make a really big difference in the local community during times of trouble. If you’re interested in helping, contact the volunteer recruitment team on 0845 601 4670.


Ray Koralewski Liverpool, North and HEAD OF SERVICES North East Lincolnshire, Margaret Paterson North Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire 07714 898679 07714 898710 SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Elaine Goldie Paul Taylor Argyll & Bute, Highlands, South and West Yorkshire Western Isles and Calderdale 07714 898527 07714 898589 Alison Love Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire 07714 898596 Grahame Rose Lothian, Fife, Forth Valley and Orkney 07714 898597 Jean Trench Borders, Arran, Dumfries & Galloway, Ayrshire 07718 982790 Josephine Mill Grampian, Tayside, Shetland 07834 482361

NORTH EAST & CUMBRIA HEAD OF SERVICES Chris Graham 07714 898667 SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Derek Hails County Durham and Darlington, Tees Valley and Cumbria 07714 898525 Carol Nevison Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Sunderland 07736 184341

YORKSHIRE, HUMBER & NORTH WEST HEAD OF SERVICES Sue Collins 07714 898599 SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Helen Hailstone Manchester, Wirral, Cheshire and Sefton 07714 898522



action is produced by WRVS internal communications


For Lancashire queries, please contact Sue Collin as above

WALES HEAD OF SERVICES Sally Rivers 07714 898571


For North Wales queries, please contact Sally Rivers as above

MIDLANDS HEAD OF SERVICES Sam Ward 07714 898602 SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Jenifer Ainsworth Leicester, Northampton and Rutland and South Lincs (South Kesteven, South Holland, Boston Borough) 07919 991544


SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Trish Hughes South West Wales 07590 776027 Wendy Marshall South East Wales 07714 898670

EDITOR Craig Burke Tel: 029 2073 9014 07714 898611

SOUTH EAST HEAD OF SERVICES Debbi Fair 07714 898676 SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS Esther Gillespie Essex and Hertfordshire 07786 635179 Heather James Kent, Medway, and East Sussex 07714 898688

André Knirsch London Joanne Edwards Derbyshire, Nottingham and North 07714 898562 Lincs (West Lindsey, East Lindsey, Lincoln and North Kesteven) Nikki Soyza Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire 07714 898546 & Cambridgeshire Lynn Hensman 07714 898615 Staffordshire and Birmingham For Norfolk, Suffolk, 01782 213489 or 0778 6635164 Surrey and West Sussex queries, please contact Ruth Nice Debbi Fair Herefordshire, Worcester and Warwick SOUTH WEST 07714 898572 HEAD OF SERVICES Steven Hargreaves Sharon Sinclair Birmingham and Black Country 07714 898563

SERVICE DELIVERY MANAGERS John Clifford Somerset, Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon and Wiltshire 07545 925757 Margaret Lawson Oxford, Berkshire and Slough 07714 898551 Irena Wasylowsky Hampshire and IOW 07714 898549 Amanda Whitlock Cornwall, Devon and Dorset 07714 898658

WRVS ASSOCIATION & SCOTTISH ASSOCIATION A friendly link for retired WRVS volunteers. For further information please contact WRVS Association 15 Priory Street York YO1 6ET Scottish Association Mrs Jilly Fraser-Malcolm Tree Tops 9 Allanwood Court Bridge of Allan Stirlingshire FK9 4DS

We have recently launched our first online community to help connect our volunteers nationwide. My WRVS is a special area on the WRVS website where you can contact other volunteers, join chats and discussions, and find important and useful documents to support your valuable work as a WRVS volunteer.

Visit your new online community and get talking at

WRVS VISION A world where every older person has the opportunity and choice to get more out of life. WRVS PURPOSE To deliver practical support through the power of volunteering so older people can get more out of life. WRVS Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RP Tel: 029 2073 9000 Registered charity number 1015988 and SC038924 JOIN US, SUPPORT US To find out about volunteering opportunities with WRVS call 0845 601 4670 To make a donation to support our work call 0845 607 6524 WRVS BENEVOLENT TRUST For volunteers in sudden financial need. 26 Pound Lane, Isleham, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5SF PUBLISHER Published on behalf of WRVS by Think, The Pall Mall Deposit, 124-128 Barlby Road, London W10 6BL Publishing editor: Jack Kibble-White Regional editor: Andrew Cattanach Sub-editor: Andrew Littlefield Art director: Alistair McGown Publisher: John Innes Managing Director: Polly Arnold PAGE ADVERTISING Craig Burke 029 2073 9014 INSERT ADVERTISING Tom Fountain 020 8962 1258 or email © 2011 WRVS. All rights reserved. Every reasonable endeavour has been made to find and contact the copyright owners of the images and works included in this newspaper. However, if you believe a copyright work has been included without your permission, please contact us at WRVS 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 WRVS nor those of the publishers.

Please pass on this magazine or recycle when finished.


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Karen always offers her regulars a warm smile

“Lots of the people that we see simply want to talk”

Karen Guthrie volunteers at The Ragworth Neighbourhood Centre, near Stockton-on-Tees


work at the Neighbourhood Centre every Wednesday. My day there starts at around 10.30am. The first thing we do is get the kitchen area ready so we can offer the older people a nice cup of tea. When they arrive we will sit and chat with them, or perhaps play some games. After that it’s lunchtime, and then sometimes there might be a guest speaker or some other kind of entertainment – we’ve even had an opera singer here! At around 2pm we finish up for the day, close the kitchen and have a tidy. Then I have just got time to get home and have a cuppa before I set off on the school run.

There are around 16 people who come to our centre. They are an interesting mix of those who want to chat with you, and those who are there with a friend and so are content to just do their own thing. Sometimes we will be doing some arts and crafts and I will help out with that, and sometimes it’s just a case of making sure everyone is having a nice time. I think of myself as quite a friendly person. I like to chat and am happy to listen. Lots of the people we see simply want to talk. Some of them are extremely funny and have some great stories to tell.

Happy to volunteer I found WRVS by looking on the internet. I have two children who are now both at school so I wanted something that I could do that I would find rewarding. I knew I wanted to work with older people, so that led me here. I was interviewed for the post back in June, and started a few weeks before the summer holidays. I knew nothing about WRVS before this, but I have to say I have found it to be a very caring organisation. Everybody’s heart is in the right place.

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Winter 2011

It’s simple – “Just ask...” With our new structure coming together, we have a new, direct message that we are bringing to those who use our services


s we introduce new ways of working, we want to make sure that the older people who use our services understand what they can expect from us. Of course they’ll get the same, high standards of quality, delivered by our volunteers and staff, but some things will be different. Under our new hub structure we will no longer have a list of predefined services. Instead, the older person will be at the heart of everything we do. That means our new way of working will revolve around creating a package of services to suit each person’s individual needs. This might seem straightforward enough, but actually communicating this message to those who use our services is not an easy task. Reaching out Research has also shown that many older people do not like to ask for help. Sometimes this is because of pride, sometimes

it’s because they are nervous, and sometimes they just don’t know who to ask. It’s our job to try and reach out to those people, and that means our message must be direct and straightforward. After some considerable thought we’ve decided that what we want to say to those who might use our services is that whatever you need, WRVS will try to provide, find or facilitate it – all you have to do is ask. Making people stop and think Our new posters will be adorned with a big purple “Just ask...” badge. We think it will make people stop and think and will encourage some of those who previously suffered in silence to come forward and ask for assistance. If you have any ideas of how you think we could use the “Just ask...” badge in your area, we would love to hear them. Please email

Our new posters aim to get the “Just ask…” message across

Want to try something new? “Just ask...” Our new message of “Just ask…” applies to you, just as much as it does to those we support. If there is something you think you would like to volunteer for, “Just ask...” – you may be surprised by the type of opportunities that are now available at WRVS.

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Winter 2011


“The lovely people we deliver to are so grateful and pleased to see us” Anne Parker organises the Meals on Wheels team in Balfron, near Stirling, while Fred Spring volunteers in Westcliff-on-Sea. Two very different locations, but do they both enjoy what they do?

Anne Parker

Fred Spring

How did you get into volunteering? I wanted to do something in the community and was interested in helping older people. I started out as an ordinary volunteer, but when our local organiser decided to step down after many years, I agreed to take on the role.

How did you get into volunteering? After running a pub in Westcliff-on-Sea for over 40 years, I found that when I retired, I missed the contact with my customers and the public in general. Purely by chance, I was talking to my niece and she mentioned that she was volunteering for Meals on Wheels in her area and I thought that could be the job for me. I contacted our local WRVS manager and within a short space of time I was out delivering.

Do you enjoy it? Yes I do. I feel our visits are very beneficial, because quite apart from delivering a hot meal, we are the people that the older person gets to see every weekday and that contact stops them from feeling isolated. What do you get out of volunteering? I think it’s important to be able to give something back to older people; it is rewarding and very worthwhile. We are in a rural area with its own challenges, such as keeping the meals delivery going in the winter! It also has its advantages, for with local volunteers delivering to local clients we get to see them on a regular basis, and some lovely friendships develop.

Do you enjoy it? I have never once regretted the decision to volunteer. The colleagues I work with are all retired post office workers, policemen, and office workers and are now my friends. What do you get out of volunteering? A sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. The lovely people we deliver to are so grateful and pleased to see us. If you, or anybody you know is considering getting into voluntary work, come and join us, you won’t regret it.

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Winter 2011

From the archive Members of the Southern Food Flying Squad alongside a convoy vehicle in the snow, during an exercise in Dorchester, Dorset in 1955

WRVS gets a healthy grant Within weeks of operation, The People’s Health Trust’s new lottery awards funds to our services in Scotland FUNDING



Meals on two wheels Since BBC 2’s Hairy Bikers Meals on Wheels first aired in September, interest in volunteering has really revved up. The series, which looks at the state of Meals on Wheels and what can be done to ensure it continues, has been a massive hit, both for the BBC and for WRVS. In one month alone, we received over 1,200 applications from people wanting to become a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

brand new health lottery fund has been launched in the UK, with 20 per cent of the profits being donated back into the areas where the money was raised. The Health Lottery, set up by The People’s Health Trust, has in its first few weeks already awarded funds to WRVS, with a grant of £37,500 given to our services in the Scottish Borders region. “On behalf of the WRVS transport and shopping services in the Scottish Borders, I would like to express our thanks,” said

Margaret Paterson, WRVS Head of Services for Scotland. “Our services are a lifeline for many of the isolated residents in this area and enable them to get out and about to run errands, continue shopping as they always have done, to attend important health appointments and most importantly to retain their independence in the local community.” This fantastic sum of money is just the start of the support we will receive from the People’s Health Trust over the coming months. The

next WRVS service in line to receive a grant from the Trust is the Independent Living for Older People centre based in Middlesbrough, which will also be awarded £37,500. Margaret Paterson, Head of Services for Scotland

Action Winter South West 2011  

Action Winter South West 2011

Action Winter South West 2011  

Action Winter South West 2011