1st June 2020

Celebrating Volunteers' Week 2020

We are delighted to announce that RBLI’s Volunteering Programme provided over 14,000 hours of vital support from more than 500 individuals over the last year, showing once again that volunteers play an essential role in ensuring that our charity continues to improve the lives of members of the Armed Forces community, people with disabilities and those who are out of work.

Our volunteers provide outstanding support right across our charity, from helping in our social enterprise factories, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company and Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, supporting fundraising initiatives and events around the UK and providing invaluable befriending support to help reduce isolation for those living on our Aylesford village, to name but a few.

To celebrate their support of RBLI as we move into National Volunteers’ Week during the lockdown, RBLI’s Chief Executive, Steve Sherry praises the invaluable contribution made every day by our volunteers.

“The first week of June marks the UK’s annual National Volunteers’ Week which is an opportunity for organisations to publicly celebrate the incredible contributions of their volunteers.

“I would like to offer my sincerest and most heartfelt gratitude to each and every person who has given their valuable time to support RBLI across the charity in the last 12 months. Without the support of these volunteers, we would simply not be able to improve so many lives across the UK as we have or deliver such a wide range of holistic activities for our beneficiaries.

“This last year has been a significant year in RBLI’s history as we celebrated our 100 year birthday, marking a century of offering crucial support to those in need. Although our formal Volunteering Programme is still relatively new the programme has gone from strength to strength and I am constantly overwhelmed by the dedication and commitment volunteers show to our work. This directly impacts not only the lives of those we support but the wider community too.

“One of the significant landmarks for RBLI of the last year was the very special visit from Her Majesty the Queen last November to open our new luxury care facility,  Appleton Lodge, and to launch the next stage of our expanded veterans’ village  which will provide new purpose-built homes for veterans and their families, and develop a thriving community with shared facilities and activities to reduce social isolation and barriers to independence. The Queen’s visit was a huge event to organise and we were extremely fortunate to have the help of more than 100 volunteers to assist with the enormous task of ensuring the vast crowds of spectators could safely enjoy the occasion.  With Her Majesty on site for 3.5 hours our volunteers were key to the smooth running of the event and we were delighted that so many could share this special day with us.

“Whilst some of our volunteering programme is temporarily on hold due to the restrictions imposed during the current Coronavirus outbreak, I was so pleased to see recently a number of volunteers continuing to support our residents in Gavin Astor House and also supporting the recent RBLI VE Day 75 Tommy in the Window Campaign with work in the factory and some home working. Even in this difficult time, where possible, volunteers have been eager to support the life-changing work of our charity.

“Our Tommy campaign, launched in line with the 75th anniversary of the victory in Europe in 1945, saw people place RBLI’s iconic Tommy figures in their windows up and down the country to show their public support and commemoration of the occasion. With more than 40,000 commemorative items sold, the campaign was taken to the nation’s heart and raised crucial funds for the charity at this difficult time. Delivering on a campaign of this scale without the support of our amazing volunteers would simply not have been possible.”

“Our volunteers are eager to return in full to our charity. I very much look forward to welcoming them all back when the time is right. I want to acknowledge and give thanks to all our volunteers for the invaluable time, enthusiasm, loyalty, patience and understanding they have shown in supporting our beneficiaries at RBLI and the work that we do.”

Steve Sherry CMG OBE, RBLI Chief Executive