For WRVS read RVS: Charity drops 'Women' from its title to woo more male volunteers

Re-naming marks 75th anniversary and pledge to help two million older people within the next ten years

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A charity established during the Second World War will be dropping the 'W' from its name, in a move to attract more male volunteers and reach the ageing population.

The Women's Royal Voluntary Service has now formally removed the 'Women's' from its name to become the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and encourage more men to volunteer for the charity. Of the 40,000 volunteers who work for the charity, approximately 6,000 of them are male.

The re-naming jointly commemorates their 75th anniversary and their new pledge to help two million older people within the next ten years.

The RVS was initially the Women's Voluntary Service and was founded in 1938 to recruit women into the Air Raid Precautions unit. The ARP were particularly effective during World War II and provided emergency rest centres, feeding, first aid, and assisted with the evacuation of children.

Now, the RVS supports the 100,000 elderly people who wish to remain living independently at home for longer, instead of in care homes or sheltered accommodation.

David McCullough, chief executive of the RVS said that the decision to remove gender from their title was also taken to increase awareness of the services offered by the charity that are available to both men and women.

"We know that more older people than ever are going to need the support that our volunteers provide, which is why we are changing our name to make it clear we are not a charity that only supports women or just wants female volunteers.

"I'm really proud of the fact that since we were founded 75 years ago as the Women's Voluntary Services, we have inspired volunteers to meet the main social challenges of the time and today we're doing exactly the same.

"As the state contracts and the number of older people grow we are able to provide a solution through our volunteers who want to make a positive difference to the lives of the older people they support."

Their re-launch comes as a survey revealed whilst over half of over-75s do not want to move into residential care, 29 per cent say that without help they will not be able to remain in their own home.