Happy Birthday to the Royal Voluntary Service and the WRVS Benevolent Trust

2018 is a significant year for both the Royal Voluntary Service and the WRVS Benevolent Trust. The Royal Voluntary Service celebrates its 80thbirthday, and its younger sister, the WRVS Benevolent Trust, turns 65. Both organisations have achieved so much from such humble beginnings.
The Royal Voluntary Service (formerly known as the WVS) was born on the 20 May 1938 and would change the face of volunteering in this country forever. At the outbreak of war, the WVS had just over 300,000 members and by November 1941 membership had exceeded one million. These women allowed the WVS to provide help in almost every aspect of life in wartime Britain.

By 1941 the WVS had almost two thousand WVS centres spread across the country, with one in nearly every town. They now have 25,000 volunteers that help older people stay active, independent and able to continue to contribute to society.


The WRVS Benevolent Trust is Born

The aim of the Royal Voluntary Service has changed somewhat over the years, butit still has the same aimof wanting to create a society where everyone feels valued and involved,whatever their age. Their volunteers help them to achieve this, just as they have done since the beginning, and the WRVS Benevolent Trust (formerly known as the WVS Trust) was set up to look after these amazing people.

The idea was to create an independent trust that could provide grants to volunteers who found themselves in unexpected financial need; those who had freely given their time and energy for the benefit of others.

On the 22ndSeptember 1953, Stella Dowager, Marchioness of Reading GBE, the same lady who founded the Royal Voluntary Service, gave £1,000 to create a fund for charitable purposes and thereby created the WVS Trust.  The WRVS Benevolent Trust, as we know it today, was signed on 16th November 1970 in the sum of £10,000, with seven trustees. 48 years later the Trust is still run by volunteers whose hard work, time and commitment are essential.


How Can We Help You?

Encouraging people to ask for help is just as challenging as it always has been. Many of the Royal Voluntary Service past or present volunteers and staff have the smallest of needs which, with a grant from us, would make a huge difference in their lives.

You may be surprised at what the WRVS Benevolent Trust can help with, and our only requirements are that you have volunteered, or worked for the WVS, WRVS or Royal Voluntary Service.

Our grants have helped previous applicants with a variety of things, including washing machines, cookers, beds, contribution towards roof repairs, dental treatment, spectacles, help towards the cost of an electric wheelchair and assistance towards the cost of a stair lift.


How Can You Help?

In 2016, 18% of the UK population was over the age of 65, according to the Office for National Statistics. The data has revealed that in some regions, as many as 1 in 3 people are over 65 and that the UK population is predicted to continue growing, reaching over 74 million by 2039.

The chances are you probably know a family member, friend or neighbour who is lonely or isolated, so how can you help them? Find your local Royal Voluntary Service hub via their website which provides lots of information on events, groups and places to meet. You could even become a volunteer yourself.

If you know of a family member or neighbour who would benefit from a grant, and you knowthat they have worked or volunteered for the Royal Voluntary Service at any time, then please encourage them to apply. They don’t need to complete the application form themselves; you can do it for them. We even have guidance on our website to help you submit a successful grant application.

Finally, did you know that we help the younger generation too? Each year our Youth Bursary Awards scheme provides bursaries to current Royal Voluntary Service volunteers between the ages of 16–25 in taking part in events or opportunities which will benefit their personal development and future career. There is lots more information on our website on how to apply, andwe even provide top tips on completing your application.

It’s amazing how both charities started from such humble beginnings and havemade such a difference to so many people’s lives. Let’s celebrate our volunteers.