Wednesday 23 October 2019

Charity's anniversary name change

One in 10 elderly people have been at risk of poverty, official figures reveal
One in 10 elderly people have been at risk of poverty, official figures reveal

A charity set up by women to help on the home front during the Second World War has changed its name in a bid to persuade more men to volunteer.

The WRVS - known as the Women's Royal Voluntary Service - was launched in 1938 but has now dropped the "W" to mark its 75th anniversary and shed its image as a women-only organisation.

It hopes the move will lead more men to volunteer as the charity strives to meet the demands of an ageing population.

The move comes as new research revealed an estimated 1.3 million people aged 75 or older will need support to continue to live independently.

David McCullough, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, said: "We know that more older people than ever are going to need the support that our volunteers provide, which is why we are changing our name to make it clear we are not a charity that only supports women or just wants female volunteers.

"I'm really proud of the fact that since we were founded 75 years ago as the Women's Voluntary Services, we have inspired volunteers to meet the main social challenges of the time and today we're doing exactly the same: as the state contracts and the number of older people grow we are able to provide a solution through our volunteers who want to make a positive difference to the lives of the older people they support."

The Royal Voluntary Service pledged to help two million older people over the next 10 years as figures showed 26% of those aged 75 or older - and almost a third of men (29%) - believe they will need support to continue living independently in their homes.

Some 5% said that they required support but did not get it, or that they had some support but it failed to meet their needs.

The Royal Voluntary Service was founded as the Women's Voluntary Services in 1938. It was formed to help recruit women into the Air Raid Precautions movement, providing civilians with emergency rest centres, food and first aid.

The Royal Voluntary Service now supports more than 100,000 older people. Around 6,000 of its 40,000 volunteers are men.

PA Media

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