To celebrate National Volunteers’ Week, RBLI’s Chief Executive Steve Sherry CMG OBE praises the invaluable contribution of our fantastic volunteers.
“The first week of June marks the UK’s annual National Volunteers’ Week which is an opportunity for organisations to celebrate the tremendous work volunteers do to support their activities.
“At RBLI, we are blessed to have had the support of a wide range of volunteers who have made a significant contribution to our success for many years.
“Whether it’s providing direct support alongside injured veterans and people with disabilities in our social enterprise factories or simply lending a listening ear to elderly veterans on our village, our volunteers play a key role in ensuring we can continue to change the lives of the people we support. We simply cannot thank our volunteers enough for this.
“Although our formal Volunteering Programme is still relatively new, I have seen it go from strength to strength over recent years and I am constantly overwhelmed by the dedication and commitment shown by volunteers across our organisation. This support not only directly impacts our beneficiaries now but also helps us expand our reach so that we can improve the lives of even more people.
“It was therefore a great sadness that our Volunteering Programme had to be largely scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that our volunteers, staff and beneficiaries were kept safe.
“That said, we have been fortunate to still have some fantastic support from individuals where it has been safe to do so. Last summer, some of our volunteers helped the veterans and people with disabilities working in our social enterprise, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, fulfil orders for tens of thousands of Tommy figures for our national VE Day 75 campaign. Thanks to their support, the campaign raised more than £1 million for RBLI and helped the nation celebrate that iconic anniversary at a time when all public events were unfortunately cancelled.
“Meanwhile, in our Scottish social enterprise, Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, we have a team of volunteer drivers who been truly vital in helping ensure orders of our products are delivered to our customers. Thanks to the support of our volunteers, SBMC has remained fully operational during this challenging time, providing vital employment opportunities to those who need it most.
“These are just a very few examples of how some our volunteers have still been able to provide their life-changing support in this period. But I want to acknowledge and thank all of those in our Volunteers Programme for their patience, understanding and loyalty at this time – this has not gone unnoticed.
“As has been the case for many organisations – and in particular those of us in the charity sector – the pandemic has been an incredibly challenging period. I am very pleased to say however that thanks to the strong foundations built by our committed team and our army of volunteers, RBLI’s activity has continued at pace throughout the pandemic.
“Recently, Phase 1 of the refurbishment of our high-dependency care home, Gavin Astor House, was completed. This project will see the home become a truly leading dementia friendly accommodation for our residents, providing a modern approach, with the very best care, to our residents. While the second phase of our Centenary Village project – which will see our charity provide a home to hundreds more veterans every single year – has continued moving forward swiftly and is set for completion in 2020. This development, which will see an additional assisted living home, additional family homes and further specially adapted apartments, will be a national beacon of veteran support for the next century.
“Once again, this simply would not have been possible were it not for the tremendous support shown by those who dedicate their time to our cause.
“In the coming months, we very much look forward to relaunching our Volunteer Programme and bringing it back stronger than ever to offer even more opportunities to support our beneficiaries while providing safe, meaningful, and rewarding opportunities to volunteers old and new.
“I want to ask that all of our volunteers do please keep in contact – we will be sure to be to be in touch with updates and opportunities as soon as we can and in the meantime do please keep a look out on our website and on our social media channels for the latest RBLI activity.”
Steve Sherry CMG OBE, RBLI Chief Executive