Volunteers across the UK are gearing up to make 100,000 companionship calls to vulnerable people isolating at home during the coronavirus lockdown, thanks to a £200,000 donation from the Asda Foundation.
From Shetland to Penzance, Norfolk to Pembrokeshire, volunteers from Royal Voluntary Service, the national volunteering charity, will provide a vital link to the outside world to people who are cut off physically and socially. Many people need help adjusting to a very different way of life so volunteers will call for a friendly chat, checking how they are bearing up physically and mentally and signposting other sources of help should they be required.
Sam Ward, Director of Services and Deputy CEO at Royal Voluntary Service, says: “Prolonged periods without seeing or speaking to anyone can be hugely detrimental to people’s well-being. The Asda Foundation’s incredibly generous donation means that our volunteers will be able to reach out to people that are feeling the impact of isolation the most acutely. Currently, we’re not able to bring people together in person through our community groups and clubs so it’s vitally important that we use other ways to help people stay connected and to remind them that someone cares.”
Companionship calls are already underway for Royal Voluntary Service volunteer Liz Greig. She says: “This event has scared a lot of our participants. When we phone to check that they are coping, they tell us how grateful they are to be able to chat with someone. They say that the support we’re giving makes them feel that they are not going through this time on their own.”
Asda Foundation has been working with Royal Voluntary Service since 2016, donating over £1m for volunteers to provide practical support to thousands of older people through community companionship programmes, dining clubs and community Shed spaces, and Christmas hamper deliveries. https://bsp.corporate.walmart.com/_preview?_cms.db.previewId=00000172-07c2-d0dc-a176-aff37d2c0000&_date=
Alexandra Preston, Asda Foundation Manager, said: “We know that for many of the most vulnerable in our communities, the impact of having to self-isolate, stay away from loved ones and being housebound will be very upsetting and can cause them to feel lonely or isolated. Community connections are a vital part of human society and we’re proud that with this £200k donation the Royal Voluntary Service will be able to use these funds to provide a reassuring call from a friendly volunteer to those who need it the most.
Royal Voluntary Service is one of the UK’s largest volunteering charities with volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and in the community. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.
To find out more about Royal Voluntary Service, local volunteering opportunities or to make a donation visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk