Duchess of Cornwall hails volunteers as ‘backbone of our country’ at start of Volunteers’ Week

As Volunteers’ Week begins today, Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall has given her thanks to the volunteers across the UK who have been getting their communities through the pandemic.

The message also coincides with the passing 250,000 voluntary acts being carried out by NHS Volunteer Responders, who were recruited by Royal Voluntary Service to support the NHS and to help the most vulnerable.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits have offered their services, to help people isolating during the pandemic; they have been undertaking practical tasks like fetching groceries and prescriptions, giving lifts to medical appointments, as well as more mental health support like ‘check in and chat’ phone calls.

The Duchess of Cornwall is the president of the Royal Voluntary Service, and has recorded a video message that has also been shared through the RVS’ ‘Virtual Village Hall’ today.

The scheme now averages 7,000 tasks a day, and 98% of requests for help are delivered within 24 hours, and the majority (70%) are matched and delivered within two hours. The app, which quickly pinpoints the nearest volunteer using geo-location, provides an effective safety net during the pandemic.

Camilla refers to a recent conversation, in which she spoke to a WWII Land Girl.: “We spoke of the quiet acts of heroism – both on the frontline and at home – that brought about a great victory for us all.  We now live in a very different world.

“Yet as we pull together to overcome COVID-19, we see the same spirit at work:  unsung heroism on the frontline and at home.”

The Duchess has been president of the organisation since 2012.

“The past weeks have seen a surge in volunteering, the like of which few will be able to recall.  We now have a veritable army of 18,000 RVS volunteers and a staggering 600,000 NHS Volunteer Responders.  This makes me incredibly proud of our country and of our national willingness to step forward to help in these very challenging times.”

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “With Volunteers’ Week fast approaching we want to say a huge thank you to all the NHS Volunteer Responders ‘on call’ across the country and to our Royal Voluntary Service volunteers, many of whom have been supporting their community and the NHS for decades.

“Volunteering has never been so critical and our volunteers, complementing those from other organisations, make a huge difference and give many people a much needed safety net.

“This is a marathon not a sprint and as members of families, social groups and communities go back to work as lockdown restrictions ease, the support of our volunteers will continue to be needed.”

This week will also see more videos come from other members of the Royal Family who have took part in the ‘check in and chat’ calls: The Duchess of Cambridge, The Countess of Wessex, and The Duchess of Gloucester.

The NHS and Royal Voluntary Service continue to encourage those needing support to self-refer by calling 0808 196 3646

You can watch the full video here.

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