#2016hours: Donating your time could shape future services in the battle against loneliness

Paul Taylor, head of support and development at the Royal Voluntary Service. Picture Scott MerryleesPaul Taylor, head of support and development at the Royal Voluntary Service. Picture Scott Merrylees
Paul Taylor, head of support and development at the Royal Voluntary Service. Picture Scott Merrylees
Donating your time for The Yorkshire Post's #2016hours volunteering campaign could help shape future services to help those suffering from loneliness across Yorkshire.

We are urging readers to donate time towards a combined 2,016 hours of volunteering for loneliness support services ran by the Royal Voluntary Service. While we are advertising specific services that need help, by offering your time in an area not already covered by a service it could help to shape additional services in future.

Paul Taylor, head of support and development at he Royal Voluntary Service, said: “2016hours is about helping to reinforce the services where we already have a want, like in Kirkless, Sheffield and Leeds. Demand usually outstrips supply, and most services have a waiting list, so the more people we get in, the more we can do. But we have lots of ideas for new services, and how we expand existing services, and we need help to do that. The more volunteers we have, the more we can achieve.

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“If we have got people coming forward in areas that we many not already have many services, it gives us a starting pointing, a chance to build a framework where we may not already have it. We may be able to put together a volunteer-run service, look a lunch club or activity club.”

The Yorkshire Post is launching #2016hours as we mark two years of campaigning to raise awareness of the health and social implications of loneliness. Just 40 new volunteers giving an hour or so a week would help us to reach our total. The Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign was launched in February 2014 after figures revealed 91,300 over 65s in the region who live alone feel lonely all or most of the time.

Mr Taylor said: “The whole campaign has been hugely helpful to the Royal Voluntary Service. We’ve very clearly had people getting in touch to volunteer - and people wanting to use our services - on the back of stories in the Yorkshire Post.

“People who are isolated and lonely do tend to read the paper even if they don’t go out much. Through this campaign, they see that they don’t have to suffer without help or support.

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“Volunteers can be of any age, from any walks of life. People tend to think of our volunteers as older people, which is great, but we also have people who are considering a career change and want experience, students, and even young people doing their Duke of Edinburgh award. It is so easy to volunteer.”

If you would like to volunteer, or to find out more information, call 0845 608 0122. Alternatively people can sign up to volunteer via the website www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk Please mention #2016hours.

Find a full list of specific vacancies on www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/loneliness

- Not able to give your time? You can still show your support to Royal Voluntary Service in helping to combat loneliness in Yorkshire by texting YORK20 followed by the amount you wish to donate (£3, £5, £10) to 70070.