ONE of the country's oldest and largest volunteering charities has launched a campaign to get more people helping communities and hospitals in Basingstoke.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) recruitment drive is looking to recruit hundreds of volunteers in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas.

There are currently a wide range of volunteering opportunities available, from supporting an older person following a stay in hospital to providing a friendly face and selling newspapers and healthy snacks to patients on ward in hospital, to roles such as marketing and fundraising.

Volunteers are also being encouraged to set up their own activities or groups such as lunch clubs or activity groups with full support and advice from the charity.

Lucy Marshall is 53 and lives in Basingstoke. She started volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service in 2017, first on a hospital ward and now supporting older people after a stay in hospital.

Talking about her experience, Lucy said: “I have been volunteering since 2017 and I currently help people who have recently been discharged from hospital to regain their independence and develop confidence back at home.

"Volunteering is a really rewarding experience; I am able to support people with things like shopping and domestic chores, as well as support them by having a cuppa and a chat.

"My experiences have even helped me with a career change and I now work as an occupational therapy assistant.”

Another volunteer is Nicola, 46 and from Basingstoke, is a home from hospital volunteer coordinator who has been volunteering with (RVS) since late 2018.

Nicola Cliffe works full-time for the Care Quality Commission, but finds the volunteering fits in well her job.

Her role with involves assessing individuals who need support; finding out more about their needs.

Nicola volunteered because she learned through her job the difficulties faced by older people in communities and help to change the culture which she feels has changed towards older people.

Rebecca Kennelly, director of volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We want people of all ages and backgrounds to be able to integrate volunteering into their everyday life and benefit from the experience. Volunteering should be as accessible as possible so it’s not a huge undertaking but a pivotal part of people’s everyday life.

“There is something to suit everyone, whether it’s providing an older person with company at home or putting culinary skills to use at a lunch club, our volunteers make a tangible difference to so many people, with millions of acts of kindness. The sense of purpose and joy that can be derived from volunteering and supporting others is incomparable and stays with our volunteers for life.”

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