News from Reading Voluntary Action (RVA)
Fifty volunteers and support staff from twenty of Reading’s community groups enjoyed an evening of celebration, sharing and learning on 1 November.
The Crowne Plaza by Caversham Bridge hosted the first-of-its-kind event, which brought together volunteers who are helping local people facing loneliness and social isolation, all year round. The purpose of the evening was to celebrate the fantastic and essential contribution that volunteers make to the lives of people who are among the most vulnerable in our town, and hear about the positive impact they have.
Councillor Rachel Eden, keynote speaker, highlighted the serious impact that loneliness and social isolation can have on anyone in our community and referred to Jo Cox, MP who, before her murder in 2016, campaigned tirelessly for action on this issue and stressed that “loneliness doesn’t discriminate”.
The event was also a chance to meet volunteers in other roles, hearing about the different kinds of activity available to help reduce loneliness and social isolation – and dates were fixed-up on the night between groups to find out more about each other and explore opportunities for working together.
Loneliness and social isolation are increasing, and cut across all communities in Reading. It’s getting harder for local community groups and charities to recruit volunteers to take action in a variety of roles. A greater diversity is needed in the pool of people willing to become friendship volunteers – the communities they represent and the times when they can volunteer.