Each day over Volunteers Week, we will be featuring a different charity or other non-profit organisation that relies on the help of volunteers. In their words, you will hear what these organistions do and the difference volunteers make to them.


Today, we hear from Royal Voluntary Service. Read all about them below. If you would like to volunteer with RVS, contact Jan on 01382 642930 or email jan.bell@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.

Tell us about your organisation/project (who do you help and in what way?)

Royal Voluntary Service is a national organisation supporting older people in communities and hospitals up and down the country. In Dundee, there are two services – Dundee Home from Hospital and On The Ward Service both of which come under the umbrella of Royal Voluntary Service’s ‘Supporting Your Recovery’

The Home from Hospital service provides short term, light support to older people in their homes on their discharge from hospital to help rebuild confidence and independence.  The service is directed mainly at people who have little or no support locally.  This support  can be carried out in many different ways depending on the needs and ability of the person being supported.   It may be by helping with shopping, encouraging people to be a bit more active, even in the slightest way, encouraging social activity if the person is able, sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of company by having a chat and cup of tea.  During this support, volunteers will also help to identify how people can be supported longer term by signposting to other organisations.  The volunteers do not provide personal care, any lifting or cooking, although will encourage people to cook for themselves where possible.

The On the Ward service is based at Wards 5 and 6 at Ninewells Hospital.  Again there are a variety of tasks but engaging patients in social activity or chatting to them is the main aim.  It may also be helping staff with minor tasks on the ward like giving out tea/coffee, emptying and filling water bottles, collecting in dirty cups and wiping trays.  During visits, the volunteers may also identify people who could benefit from the Home from Hospital service in Dundee and complete the referral on behalf of staff.  This is a fairly new service, which it is hoped will expand to other wards and hospitals within Dundee.  There is also a further part to On The Ward service , which is serving tea / coffee to patients in the Oncology Day Clinics at Ninewells.

What difference do volunteers make to your organisation/project?

Volunteers are the most selfless, friendly and considerate people our organisation has the pleasure of working with.  The time that volunteers give up to help others can change someone’s life. In most cases it’s the simplest things that we take for granted that are the most appreciated by our clients but it is not unusual for a volunteer to go that extra mile to help with something specific. The success of any project or organisation is often down to the teamwork of volunteers working with staff and clients, they are the most amazing people.

Tell us more about the volunteering roles you have.

Our main volunteer roles are Home from Hospital volunteer and On The Ward volunteer but we would also welcome anyone interested in any of the following roles although cannot guarantee availability:-

Admin Support Volunteer;  Volunteer Recruiter; Volunteer Trainer; Collection Tin Volunteer; Public/ Community Speaker Volunteer; Fundraiser Volunteer; Strength and Balance Volunteer; and Volunteer Co-ordinator

More information on these roles can be obtained by emailing DundeeHFH@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or phoning 01382 642930

We are always open to hearing about people’s talents and skills and welcome anyone who feels that they have something that they can give to the service.  If you feel that you have something to offer but are not sure how it would fit in with any of the roles mentioned, please feel free to contact us for a chat.

Tell us why volunteering for your organisation/project would be of benefit to an individual

For many of the situations I have mentioned in reply to the previous question, volunteers can gain so much from helping someone to achieve even the smallest of things. Volunteering gives a feeling of well-being, builds your confidence, gives you experience meeting and communicating with people from all walks of life; builds your social skills.  You will meet new friends and gain an insight to people with a variety of different lifestyles and backgrounds.  All volunteers bring something to volunteering as well as benefitting from the skills and knowledge of others. Most of all you will be part of a great team of staff and volunteers.

Our organization  provides training and support to volunteers to build their confidence and make sure that they feel well prepared for volunteering.  There are regular volunteer meetings where volunteers meet each other and share experiences where they have learned.  We also have outside speakers from other organisations speak at these meetings to build volunteers’ knowledge of what is available to help them to help the clients.

Initially we would have an informal chat with anyone interested in volunteering to explain more about the service and volunteer roles before allowing the person to decide if they want to proceed to application.

If no-one volunteered, where would you be?

This isn’t about where we would be but much more about where older people in Dundee with little or no support would be:-

  • Who would be there to support and encourage Mrs S when she is getting home after a 2 month stay in hospital, anxious and terrified about how she will cope on her own?
  • Who will help Mr A, recovering from a fractured hip, to rebuild his confidence again?
  • Who will pop in to say hello with a cheery smile to see Mr P, who has seen no-one for days as his family live abroad?
  • Who will be there to encourage Mrs D to get back on the bus to meet her friends again by going with her the first few times?
  • Who will help Mrs N to organise help to have her shopping delivered when she can no longer get her own shopping?
  • Who will support Miss B, to keep her spirits up by encouraging her to do her exercises to help her recovery?
  • Who will coax Mr C to try something new and be there with him as he   makes    new friends ?
  • Who?

So many different stories, where would they be without volunteers?