We're proud to support the wonderful work of the Royal Voluntary Service across the country – and over the last three years we've donated more than £1 million to their projects through the Asda Foundation.
Lots of our community champions work closely with RVS volunteers and teams on projects which tackle loneliness and isolation among older people.
Annmarie Rocks from the Asda Foundation says everyone involved with our charitable arm is proud of the difference our links with the RVS make to their work.
She said: “We are passionate about supporting communities, helping to improve lives now and in the future. We are delighted to reach our funding milestone with Royal Voluntary Service. It enables the charity to carry out this important programme of work helping to build connections and reduce social isolation, making a positive impact in communities throughout Great Britain.”
One of the volunteer-led schemes our funding has supported is Batley Come Dine With Me, a dining programme which offers nutritious meals and social activities for older people which was set up earlier this year.
Members get the chance to eat meals in company and also try out activities such as indoor curling and knitting as well as listening to speakers from organisations such as the NHS, the police and the council.
One of those who regular attends is 84-year-old retired engineer Leonard Gardner, who said: “The club is therapeutic, both for me and for my wife who lives with dementia. We really enjoy eating lunch with other club members, and we’ve made new friends too. I’d definitely recommend it to other people.”
Fazila Aswat, Kirklees community service manager for Connecting Communities Legacy, said they were "immensely grateful" for the Asda Foundation's ongoing support.
She said: "Thanks to them, we have been able to provide our members with nutritious meals and fantastic social activities that have a real positive impact, helping our participants to live happier and healthier lives.
"Batley Come Dine With Me has been a great success so far and we’re delighted to have been able to support so many people in Batley and Spen. We’d love to be able to welcome even more members, so if you’d like the chance to get out of the house, meet some new people and experience new things, we’d love to hear from you."
At Maldon in Essex, the RVS runs a very popular Monday lunch and social club where overr 20 diners from the local area travel to the club by minibus (volunteer drivers collect those needing transport), on foot, by mobility scooter or in their own cars to enjoy a two-course lunch each week.
Club regular Alf Hale, 87, attends each week and thoroughly enjoys himself. He participates as much as he can in the activities on offer and likes chatting and catching up with everyone.
He said: "It gives me something to look forward to and everyone is so pleasant and kind. I already knew some of the other members, but I’m pleased that I’ve made some new friends as well. I used to be the only man, but we have other gentlemen now."
Sylvia Beale, 84, lives alone in a local retirement complex and is one of the club’s most recent members. She likes to be in company and finds the other members nice people to socialise with.
“I feel that I am really wanted at the club and enjoy the atmosphere. I’ve met many new friends there and look forward to meeting up with them each week. The volunteers that support the club work hard and spend time talking with me. I enjoy sewing and art and crafts and want to continue with my hobbies as much as I can, but my sight is becoming limited. The club’s volunteers help me with drawing, colouring or stitch-craft when we do activities.”
Every year we help the RVS spread Christmas cheer by helping fund their work giving gift hampers to people who may otherwise be on their own. In the run-up to this Christmas we'll pass the milestone of delivering over 10,000 hampers since 2016.
Liz Thomas, of the RVS, said: "The simple act of kindness in delivering a hamper to an older person makes a big difference to both the recipient and the volunteer. Recipients tell us they are surprised and overwhelmed by the kindness shown. Volunteers also get a great sense of wellbeing from being able to do something extra over the festive period."