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Volunteer plea for new community food project

Royal Voluntary Service, one of Britain’s oldest and largest volunteering charities, is appealing for volunteers to step forward to help develop a brand new community food project in Carlisle.

The charity, which is working in partnership with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Get Togethers Programme, is looking for volunteers that can bring their community together over food. It could be encouraging people in their community to cook and share a regular meal together, starting a gardening group on a shared allotment or as simple as bringing together people of different ages for a social get together over a plate of good food.

Royal Voluntary Service will support all its volunteers to lead groups and events safely and legally, as simply as possible – by providing them with access to Royal Voluntary Service’s insurance, PVG/DBS checks and safeguarding training and an online platform to manage the group’s activities.

Recent research by the charity found that more than 1.6m older people (one in five) eat lunch and dinner alone every day. The research found that eating alone could have a negative impact on health with nearly one in five (16%) saying they eat less healthily if dining by themselves. Worryingly, more than 700,000 over 70s admit to skipping one of their daily meals at least seven or more times each week.

Denise Young, Project Manager for Royal Voluntary Service, said: “For many older people in Britain, eating alone is a regular occurrence and we know the detrimental impact this can have on their health. Having the chance to get together, share a healthy meal and have a chat can make a significant difference to someone’s day to day life. Through our partnership with the Food for Life Get Togethers programme, we hope to encourage volunteers to take the lead in their community by starting their own group and creating opportunities for people of all ages in their community to come together. If you like to make things happen, are organised with an eye for detail and have a passion about bringing people together over good food – whether growing, cooking or serving – we would like to hear from you.”

Dale Cranshaw, Head of Programme, Food for Life Get Togethers, said: “Volunteer groups across the country are already using the power of good food to connect people of all ages and backgrounds. We hope that Food for Life Get Togethers inspires more people to join in with their communities to cook, grow and eat healthy food together.  We’re delighted that Royal Voluntary Service is one of the six partners we’re working with across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver our Food for Life Get Togethers programme. Working together will mean we can share the benefits of getting together through good food with more people than ever before.”

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and in the community.  The simple acts of kindness our volunteers provide, whether popping in for tea and a chat, helping out with a lift to a GP or social appointment or running chair-based exercises on ward to prevent pyjama paralysis, help make communities stronger and relieve the pressure on overstretched public services. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.

For more information about how to set up a food group or how to volunteer, please contact [email protected] or call 07787 272860.

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