VOLUNTEER: Find time for community

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For over 80 years we have been inspiring and enabling people to give the gift of voluntary service to meet the needs of the day.

Today, one of those needs is helping older people to live healthy and happy lives.

We are now calling on people from Northumberland to come forward and volunteer to support older people in their community by setting up activities and social groups, with our backing.

The call is part of a new campaign with Prudential, Bring People Together, through which we hope to grow a network of volunteer-led groups spanning the county that will improve the lives of people in the area for many years to come.

From running a quiz group in a community hall or establishing a book club in a library to exploring new ways to bring people together over food, we are open to all ideas.

We would like to hear from anyone who has some time to spare and a keen interest in creating something that people can look forward to.

I am also keen to stress that volunteering is not just a one-way street.

A recent survey of 2,000 of our volunteers found that by volunteering with us 98 per cent experienced a sense of purpose or satisfaction, and 73 per cent felt healthier, physically and emotionally.

A study by Prof James Nazroo, of Manchester University, found that people who volunteer are happier and healthier than others.

Anyone with an idea for a social group they would like to make happen can contact me at julie.crocker@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

Alternatively, call 0300 012 0261 or visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

Julie Crocker

Community Engagement and Development Worker for Newcastle and Northumberland, Royal Voluntary Service