An army of volunteers ensure the elderly are not alone here

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Volunteers are being sought to join a 220-strong team in Aberdeenshire.

Royal Voluntary Service – or the RVS, as it is commonly known – is looking to expand its pool of volunteers across the north east.

The charity, which focuses on trying to prevent isolation and loneliness among older people in the community, already has an army of dedicated volunteers who undertake a number of roles.

These included befriending – which can include a range of activities, from going out for a coffee with an older person to taking them to the cinema to see a film.

A host of volunteers also work within the RVS transport service, taking elderly people to health appointments or even just for their hair appointments and to get some shopping.

No experience is necessary to join the RVS recruits.

But what the charity does look for are people who simply enjoy spending time with older people and sharing their experiences.

While RVS is keen to recruit more volunteers from across the north east, Peterhead and Fraserburgh are two areas where there is a particular shortage.

For there are more requests from older people in these areas than the charity is able to help with.

Chris Rowe is just one of the volunteers with RVS in Aberdeenshire and has been active with the charity for nearly four years. He volunteers in and around Rothienorman, mainly taking older people to Fyvie or Oldmeldrum clinic appointments and back.

Occasionally, he also takes people to appointments at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and, more recently, the Insch area too.

Chris said the number of hours he volunteers with RVS varies each week but he has never had more than two or three calls in a week.

Chris said: “I have spare time anyway and I find it very satisfying helping people who would otherwise be in some difficulty.

“I would certainly encourage others to do it.

“And because mileage costs are paid for, the only cost to me is time.”

RVS service manager Pat Middleton is keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering their time.

She said: “If you have at least one hour a week to help an older person we’d love to hear from you.

“I would say our volunteers get as much out of this as the person getting the service.

“It’s definitely a two-way street and very much worthwhile.

“We’re happy even if people just want to get in touch to get a bit more information – either over the phone or in person.”

RVS has been supporting older people in our local communities for 78 years.

The charity tries to prevent isolation and loneliness among elderly people – work which is growing ever more important, given the growing elderly population.

Every year, the Royal Voluntary Service provides around 87,000 journeys to hospital and GP appointments, to the shops or into town.

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, to find out more information or, indeed, if you would like to use RVS services, email aberdeenshirehub@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or call RVS on 01467 626012.

Alternatively, visit the charity’s website at www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.