GLIDING across the hall floor, Dancing On Ice stars Vanessa Bauer and Klabera Komini deliver meals to their elderly diners with flair.
The professional skaters dropped into Rickmansworth Lunch Club to bring some festive sparkle to the day.
Vanessa, 26, said: “The volunteers here are wonderful.
“They do this all for nothing because they want to help their local community.”
Klabera added: “Volunteering makes you feel so good.
“I think it’s so important to do it because for a lot of people here today, these few hours mean the world to them as otherwise they wouldn’t get that social interaction.”
Diner Anne said: “Coming here is so important for me.
“I don’t have an oven so I eat microwave meals which are not the same as the home-cooked food we get here.
“The volunteers are always wonderful. We get flowers on the table, and at Christmas time they get us little presents.
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“It’s just amazing.”
Royal Voluntary Service is one of the UK’s biggest volunteering charities, supporting the NHS and thousands of vulnerable people.
As well as assisting at lunch and social clubs, there are other key roles including driving for hospital trips, making companionship phone calls and helping with a hospital snack trolley.
Or gifting £6 a month will cover a volunteer’s costs for a year.
Speaking about why she volunteers, 68-year-old Elaine Hewitt said: “I just wanted to give back to my community when I retired.
“People are so appreciative. This lunch club gives our guests the chance to get out of the house.
“It really does make me feel good to see them enjoying the company and having a decent meal.”
Tom Jones, 85, attends with wife Gill most days so he gets a break from cooking, which he has taken over as his spouse has dementia.
He said: “It’s a tremendous relief to be able to come here for lunch.
“We have a marvellous family but we can’t rely on them all the time, so having this here helps hugely.”
To give your time or donate money go to royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/helpinghands
‘GIVE TIME TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDS IT’
PAUL DAY knew he had to act when he saw The Sun’s Helping Hands Christmas campaign in the paper.
Paul, 53, said: “I’ve read The Sun every day all my life. As soon as I saw it, I applied.
“It shows that The Sun is giving back as well.”
The software company director, who lives in Binfield, Berks, with his teaching assistant partner Anita, 49, and their five kids, was already a member of The Sun’s Jabs Army.
For two years from March 2020, he completed 736 tasks, helping with vaccinations, taking people to hospital and doing their shopping.
Now he has completed his safeguarding courses and is waiting for his ID badge to arrive through the post.
He says: “As soon as I get it I’ll meet my local Royal Voluntary Service manager and we’ll take it from there.
“I’ve signed up for every-thing – from supporting people when they come out of hospital to taking them to medical appointments.”
Our Jabs Army campaign opened Paul’s eyes to how many old people live lonely and vulnerable lives.
He said: “One 90-year-old lady I visited had no one. She wanted some shopping – two tins of marrowfat peas.
“She paid in pennies as she couldn’t get to the bank.
“I went out and bought her £40 of shopping. It was like you were giving her the world.
Paul has also abseiled in aid of the London Air Ambulance and will be running up 42 flights of stairs as part of the London Landscape Skyscraper Challenge next year.
He added: “Time is the most valuable thing that anybody has.
“You can give some of that time to somebody who needs it.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
THERE are a wide range of volunteering jobs available, including making companionship calls, serving hot meals at lunch clubs to someone who would not otherwise eat, delivering practical help to those recovering from illness and working on hospital wards or at vaccination sites.
If there is not a suitable role in your local area, you might want to sign up as an Emergency Response Volunteer.
You will be contacted when new vital roles are introduced, to support communities and the NHS over the winter.
Visit the website: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/helpinghands
now to find out about jobs in your area and follow the instructions on how to sign up.
IF you can’t volunteer, you can donate money to help cover the costs of recruiting and training volunteers.
Just £6 a month covers the cost of a volunteer for a year.
To donate, visit the website above or text HANDS to 70507 to give £5*
*You will be charged £5, plus one message at your standard network rate. Royal Voluntary Service will receive 100 per cent.
If you wish to discuss this mobile payment, call 020 3282 7863. Registered charity number 1015988 (England and Wales) & SC038924 (Scotland).
By texting HANDS to 70507 you are agreeing to us contacting you by SMS about fundraising and to tell you more about our work.
To give £5 without receiving further contact by SMS, text HANDSNO to 70507.