More than 10,000 people over the age of 50 volunteer with us across the UK. Many lead their own projects through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP). RSVP responds to local community needs, enabling people aged over 50 to take a lead role in both setting up and participating in volunteering activities that improve the health and wellbeing of others in their community – running sports clubs, employability skills workshops, patient driving schemes, knitting groups and much more. We know that volunteering is good for both the individual and the community, and that  older and retired people often have untapped assets and skills which can and should be mobilised to the benefit of themselves and others.

We currently have more than 250 volunteer-led RSVP groups running across the country, and are always keen to help people start their own in response to local community needs. Nearly 500 of our RSVP volunteers are Volunteer Organisers (VOs), acting as team leaders to the RSVP volunteers in their areas, responsible for managing a team of up to 40 volunteers. Please get in touch if you’re interested in starting your own RSVP programme.

Volunteering Matters also runs specific projects for older volunteers and beneficiaries – like Sporting Chance, which gets older male volunteers out and active, and Citywise, which run a series of projects focussing on developing the employability of older people.

Take a look at all our programmes below, and check out what RSVP activities there are in your local area.

 

(Photo courtesy of Ageing Better Middlesbrough)

Active Volunteering Wales

Active Volunteering Wales supports adults with specific learning difficulties, encouraging them to becoming engaged in their community and to combat social exclusion.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough

Peer Friendship aims to recruit and train volunteers who would like to use their interests, skills and experience to connect with lonely and isolated older people.

Assisted Gardening Scheme

The Assisted Gardening Scheme offers affordable help to tenants struggling to manage their gardens, creating manageable spaces for people to enjoy and feel safe in.
cars4carers driving scheme

Cars4Carers

Cars4Carers is a Pembrokeshire based social car scheme that provides transport for unpaid carers via volunteer drivers, whether it is a food shopping trip, or just going out to socialise.
Get Out Get Active GOGA

Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a UK wide programme, funded by Spirit of 2012 that aims to encourage disabled and non-disabled people to take part in and enjoy activity together.
filmon grandmentors intergenerational mentoring

Grandmentors

Grandmentors is an innovative mentoring project pairing volunteers aged 50 and over with young people to empower them to achieve their full potential.

Handyperson Project

Our handyperson service runs in Stirling and Clackmannanshire and involves older volunteers who complete small and minor maintenance jobs that some older people cannot do by themselves.

Heather’s Hair

Heather’s Hair is an RSVP project that creates hairpieces and weaves for people experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy or other reasons.
Help at Hand Befriending Project Volunteers From Scotland

Help at Hand Befriending

The Help at Hand Befriending Projects aim is to help reduce loneliness and to provide older people in the Forth Valley region support and companionship on a regular basis.

Keep in Touch Project

The Keep in Touch project aims to support families who worry about being able to pay fuel bills, are not warm enough in their house, and are affected by the cold in terms of their health.
learning for life together bristol

Learning for Life Together

Learning for Life Together is an intergenerational oral history and social action project, linking older people (aged 50+) with a class of young people at a school near Dundry Slopes in Bristol.

LifeLines

Lifelines project in Brighton brings together people aged 50+ both as volunteers running activities and as participants in the wide range of volunteer-run activities.

Newport Support Partnership

Volunteering Matters is working with other experienced organisations as part of the Newport Support Partnership to provide help for isolated people and carers living in the Newport area.

Norfolk Knitters & Stitchers

Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers provide support to charities at home and abroad with hand knitted items as well as creating a community & friendship for isolated individuals.

One Small Step Befriending Project

One Small Step is a befriending project which with the power of volunteers, helps break isolation suffered by hundreds of isolated adults over 50 in the Stockton area.
RISE project driving scheme befriending ryedale

RISE

RISE provides transport for older and vulnerable who may struggle to travel independently and who do not have family or friends always available or nearby.
Patient Driving Schemes volunteer RSVP

RSVP Driving Schemes

Driving schemes are a lifeline to some older and more vulnerable people living in the UK who may not be able to get around easily.

RSVP Knitting

Our knitting groups, are growing increasingly popular with over 5,000 social action knitters across the UK producing in excess of 50 big bin-bags worth of knitted goods per month
reading in schools volunteering

RSVP Reading in Schools

Our Retired and Senior Volunteer Programmes (RSVP) offer volunteering in local schools across the UK, for people aged 50+, where they can support pupils with with reading, maths or specialized subjects.
RSVP Scotland volunteers group shot

RSVP Scotland

RSVP Scotland encourages and assists older people to use their skills and experience to volunteer and keep active in retirement.

RSVP West

RSVP West is a key region for our RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme) and covers Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset.
sporting chance middlesbrough

Sporting Chance

Sporting Chance invites older men in the North East to join in activities and exercise groups from walking football to arm chair exercise, Aquasize to reminiscence sessions.

Volunteer Centre Newcastle

Volunteer Centre Newcastle acts as a connector between people and communities with a database of opportunities across the city.

Welcome Friends

Welcome Friends improves quality of life for older people by supporting them via one to one befriending and encouraging them to become more socially active within their community.

RSVP Schools Coordinator (Clackmannanshire)

The RSVP schools volunteer organiser is key to the success of our reading programme. As an organiser, you are the main facilitator of the programme in your community, acting as the link between Volunteering Matters, schools and our senior volunteers.

Schools Volunteer (Broxbourne/Ware/East Hertfordshire)

RSVP currently has schools in Broxbourne, Ware and East Hertfordshire looking for new volunteers. We match volunteers with local primary schools who then arrange a regular weekly session to work with children individually on their reading or maths.

Volunteer Driver (Newport)

Volunteering Matters is working in collaboration with other experienced organisations to provide help for isolated people and carers living in the Newport area - specifically in this role supporting carers with their travel needs.

Help at Home Volunteer (Newport)

Volunteering Matters is working in collaboration with other experienced organisations to provide help for isolated people and carers living in the Newport area - specifically in this role, help around the home.

Volunteer Carer’s Befriender (Newport)

Volunteering Matters is working in collaboration with other experienced organisations to provide help for isolated people and carers living in the Newport area - specifically in this role, befriending isolated carers.

RSVP Recruitment Organiser

RSVP volunteers are all aged over 50 and draw upon on their experiences to lead and develop projects targeting needs in their local community. We have 10,000 volunteers, of which over 450 are Organisers.

RSVP Schools Coordinator

RSVP currently have volunteers in more 350 schools around the UK. Our aim is to help more older volunteers take part in this popular programme.

Sporting Chance (Stockton)

Sporting Chance is a project, with the Stockton on Tees branch being funded by the NHS Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group that aims to engage with men aged 50+.

Befriender (Middlesbrough)

Volunteers are required as a buddy or befriender to isolated people (also under 50) in their local community; this could include young families and single parents.

Group Activity Volunteer (Newport)

Group activity volunteers will assist in running groups aimed at helping older people and people with disabilities remain socially active.

Grandmentors (Folkestone)

Looking for older volunteers who want to use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people to find work, continue in education or begin training.

Get Out Get Active – Programme Assistant (Keighley)

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is an exciting new programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Funded by Spirit of 2012, the programme is focused on getting some of the UK’s least active people moving more through fun and inclusive activities. There are many ways you could … Continued

HealthLink Volunteer

HealthLink supports older people who are isolated or whose friends and family can’t provide support to get to their healthcare appointments.

RSVP Project Organiser (Bath)

Volunteer Project Organisers are needed in all parts of the RSVP West Region which consists of placing volunteers in schools; helping develop our GP surgery-based schemes or helping to co-ordinate volunteers at local surgeries.

RSVP Project Organiser (South Gloucestershire)

Volunteer Project Organisers are needed in all parts of the RSVP West Region which consists of placing volunteers in schools; helping develop our GP surgery-based schemes or helping to co-ordinate volunteers at local surgeries.

RSVP Project Organiser (Bristol)

Volunteer Project Organisers are needed in all parts of the RSVP West Region which consists of placing volunteers in schools; helping develop our GP surgery-based schemes or helping to co-ordinate volunteers at local surgeries.

RSVP Project Organiser (North & North East Somerset)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY RSVP West is a key region for our RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme) and covers Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset. With over 1000 volunteers involved in various volunteering activities including community care, transport services, care homes, ‘older people’ projects and our schools programme, we are growing rapidly … Continued

Volunteer Organiser (Poole)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY Twigs Garden Club is all about providing a ‘laid back gardening for all’ approach to gardening. This project is open for all ages, whether you have a large or small garden or just a window box, do come along and discuss your interest, socialise and make new friends. The club is now … Continued

RSVP School Volunteer (Lambeth)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) in Lambeth provides opportunities to older people or those in or approaching retirement to volunteer in a primary or secondary school.

RSVP Clackmannanshire Community Healthcare Centre Volunteers (Clackmannanshire)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) works with NHS Forth Valley to develop volunteering in local hospitals.  We are looking for older volunteers to carry out support roles in Clackmannanshire Community Healthcare Centre, with the aim of making a visit to the hospital a better experience for patients and visitors. Volunteers … Continued

Learning for Life Together Volunteer (Bristol)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY Learning for Life Together is a project which links older people (aged 50+) with a class of 8-9 year olds at Four Acres Academy, near Dundry Slopes in Bristol. Volunteers will share experiences of the local area and deliver a number of local activities/events with the young people. VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS Volunteers must: … Continued

Prime Time (Brighton)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY Prime Time is a project running as part of LifeLines and we are looking for men aged 50+ who would like to share any interest, sport or activity  with other men in a small group setting, inside or outdoors. Groups are run on a very informal basis, the emphasis being on men … Continued

Volunteer Driver (Rawcliffe/Snaith)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY If you want to help older and vulnerable people get to their health care appointments and make a difference to their lives then join RSVP’s East Yorkshire based driving scheme in Snaith working with The Marshes surgery. Together we can assist with helping older people maintain their health, independence and reduce isolation. VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS A clean … Continued

Volunteer Driver (Bath)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY If you want to help older and vulnerable people get to their hospital & health care appointments, day care centres, social events and respite centres and make a difference to their lives then get join RSVP North and North East Somerset and Bath based driving scheme. Together we can assist with helping older people maintain their … Continued

Volunteer Driver (North & North East Somerset)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY If you want to help older and vulnerable people get to their hospital & health care appointments, day care centres, social events and respite centres and make a difference to their lives then get join RSVP West’s North Somerset and Bath based driving scheme. Together we can assist with helping older people maintain their health, … Continued

Volunteer Driver (South Gloucestershire)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY If you want to help older and vulnerable people get to their hospital & health care appointments, day care centres, social events and respite centres and make a difference to their lives then get join RSVP West’s South Gloucestershire based driving scheme. Together we can assist with helping older people maintain their health, independence and … Continued

Volunteer Driver (Bristol)

ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY If you want to help older and vulnerable people get to their hospital & health care appointments, day care centres, social events and respite centres and make a difference to their lives then get join RSVP West’s Bristol based driving scheme. Together we can assist with helping older people maintain their health, independence and … Continued

Active Volunteer (Blackwood)

Active Volunteering is a partnership with Reach based in Newport and Blackwood and aims to engage more people in their community.

Active Volunteer (Newport)

Active Volunteering Wales volunteers support people to engage more in their local community and to live as independently as possible.

Twigs Garden Club (Poole)

Twigs Garden Club is all about providing a ‘laid back gardening for all’ approach to gardening.

RSVP Walk Organiser (Stirling)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme encourages those aged 50+ to volunteer and stay active. We are looking for an older person to volunteer as a Walk Organiser for our popular weekly walks in Stirling and the surrounding area.

RSVP Knitters (Clackmannanshire)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme encourages those aged 50+ to volunteer and stay active. We are looking for older people in Clackmannanshire who would like to knit items for charity and good causes.

RSVP Knitters (Stirling)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme encourages those aged 50+ to volunteer and stay active. We are looking for older people in Stirling who would like to knit items for charity and good causes.

RSVP Knitters (Dunblane)

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme encourages those aged 50+ to volunteer and stay active. We are looking for older people in Dunblane and the surrounding area who would like to knit items for charity and good causes.

Volunteer Driver (Poole)

Our volunteer drivers help anyone who needs assistance with getting to hospital & health care appointments. Together we can assist with helping older or vulnerable people maintain their health, independence and reduce social isolation.

RSVP Schools Volunteers (Clackmannanshire)

In a teacher supported environment you will be helping pupils with their numeracy and literacy or you may be taking reading groups. The value of intergenerational teaching is widely acknowledged as being a very important factor in child developmental and educational growth.

RSVP Schools Volunteers (Falkirk)

In a teacher supported environment you will be helping pupils with their numeracy and literacy or you may be taking reading groups. The value of intergenerational teaching is widely acknowledged as being a very important factor in child developmental and educational growth.

Cars4Carers (Pembrokeshire)

Many people rely on our volunteer drivers to help them do everyday things that most of us take for granted. A simple trip to the shops can be complicated, if not impossible, for some people without the support of a volunteer driver.

RSVP North East – Knitting (County Durham)

Bring a ray of hope to children across the world. With Trauma Teds, you can help knit teddies for the local children or have your creations sent further afield to conflcit hit regions.

Volunteer Driver (County Durham)

Without the support of a volunteer driver, everyday things that most of us take for granted- such as a simple trip to the shops- can be complicated, if not impossible.

Assisted Gardening Scheme (Bristol)

Volunteers have the opportunity to get creative and transform green spaces into fresh, colourful, blooming gadrens. This is a fantasic way to support and befriend local residents who are no longer able to manage their own gardens.

RSVP Schools Volunteers (Stirling)

In a teacher supported environment you will be helping pupils with their numeracy and literacy or you may be taking reading groups. The value of intergenerational teaching is widely acknowledged as being a very important factor in child developmental and educational growth.

Welcome Friends (Blaenau Gwent)

Volunteers support isloated, lonely older people in the local area by making home visits and helping to organise and run social activities in community settings such as sheltered accommodation, day centres or libraries.

Welcome Friends (Rhondda Cynon Taf)

Volunteers support isloated, lonely older people in the local area by making home visits and helping to organise and run social activities in community settings such as sheltered accommodation, day centres or libraries.

Group Organisers (Carmarthenshire)

Volunteers support isloated, lonely older people in the local area by making home visits and helping to organise and run social activities in community settings such as sheltered accommodation, day centres or libraries.

Group Organisers (Pembrokeshire)

Volunteers support isloated, lonely older people in the local area by making home visits and helping to organise and run social activities in community settings such as sheltered accommodation, day centres or libraries.

Volunteer Driver (Ryedale)

Many people rely on our volunteer drivers to help them do everyday things that most of us take for granted. A simple trip to the shops can be complicated, if not impossible, for some people without the support of a volunteer driver.

Welcome Friends Befrienders (Pembrokeshire)

Volunteers support isloated, lonely older people in the local area by making home visits and helping to organise and run social activities in community settings such as sheltered accommodation, day centres or libraries.

Befriender (Stockton-on-Tees)

Looking for volunteers to act as good neighbours to isolated and vulnerable adults over the age of 50 living in the borough of Stockton-on-Tees

Sporting Chance (Middlesbrough)

Looking for men over the age of 50 in Middleborough to get involved in health and wellbeing programmes - and support the project's ongoing sustainability

One Planet (Middlesbrough)

We are looking for volunteers to help with a variety of established activities and projects for people aged 50 and over - from lunch clubs to After Stroke groups.

Lifelines (Brighton)

Looking for people aged 50 and over based in Brighton who want to stay active and involved in their local community. We will support you to run or take part in a huge range of activities - from computer clubs to loss support groups.

Grandmentors (Islington)

Looking for older volunteers who want to use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people to find work, continue in education or begin training.

Grandmentors (Hounslow)

Looking for older volunteers who want to use their lifetime of skills and experience to support vulnerable young people to find work, continue in education or begin training.

Grandmentors: Ed’s Story

"Mentoring gives us an opportunity to continue to deploy our skills and knowledge, but in a very different environment."

RSVP Knitting: Natalie’s Story

"I love volunteering - it boosts my mood and helps me feel I am doing something worthwhile with my free time. For me, volunteering was a lifeline."

Learn Together Cymru: Nesta’s Story

"Two hours of my time each week doesn’t seem much, but for me it means that on two days there is a purpose to my day – a reason to get up, shower, change and get ‘out there’."
cars4carers paul wales volunteer driver organiser

Cars4Carers: Paul’s Story

"I have found volunteering to be an excellent way of giving something back to people and helping to make their lives a little easier."

Citywise: Lisa’s story

"My mental health has improved as a result of being able to talk through my problems with another person in the community."

Employee Volunteering: Kosar’s Story

City wise recruits unemployed volunteers aged 50+ who want to make a difference in their communities through offering their skills and experience to help others.

Help at Hand : Katie’s Story

"Loneliness is something that can affect anyone at any time, and it is projects like this that are so important in helping to stop it."
Roger- Lifelines

Lifelines project : Roger’s Story

"I had never lived alone before my wife passed away. Living alone was a big shock initially, but volunteering has helped my well-being a lot."

Engaging Older People of Asian Origin

Our Retired and Senior Volunteering Programme (RSVP) in Coventry has been delivering a project tackling isolation and improving wellbeing amongst older people in Coventry through volunteer-led activity.

Volunteering in retirement

Retirement is an opportunity for you to use and develop your skills and talents further than you thought possible. Read how volunteering in retirement is becoming more prevalent.
#givingtuesday

Volunteering Matters mobilises people power on #GivingTuesday

In 2015, #GivingTuesday broke the world record for the highest amount of money donated online in a 24 hour period. We think this is brilliant – but #GivingTuesday shouldn’t just be about giving money so we are asking our supporters to donate the gift of time by volunteering in their communities.
Sporting Chance stockton-on-tees new project

Sporting Chance arrives in Stockton-on-Tees

Sporting Chance, our innovative project that addresses social isolation and poor physical and mental health amongst men aged 50+ in Middlesbrough, has been replicated in Stockton-on-Tees.

Lifelines goes from strength to strength!

Lifelines, a flagship project from the national charity Volunteering Matters, will be expanding across the city thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.
sporting chance middlesbrough

Sporting Chance hit the big screen

Sporting Chance, a project for men over 50 in the Middlesbrough area became film stars for the day when Leanne from Button Media Management came down to create a great new promotional video for them

Happy 100th birthday Edie!

Do you remember the end of the First World War in 1918? No? Neither do we, but one person who has lived through all of these world-changing events is Volunteering Matters beneficiary, Edie.

Norfolk Knitters celebrate 2,000th member

On Friday 1st May a special celebration was held at the North Norfolk Wool Loft Open Day, at Sheringham Community Centre, to mark the 2000th member joining Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers.

Continued austerity a threat to communities

Worries of continued austerity, calling for the next government to acknowledge the value of the volunteering sector given its critical role in helping to promote and sustain the well-being of individuals and communities.

Eating Christmas dinner alone

The cost of supporting isolated older people is crippling our health and care services, and many people are now looking to the charity sector for a solution. Thankfully, there is one.

What did we learn from our volunteers this summer?

This summer, we asked our volunteers, why they volunteer, what they think about the training and support we offer, and what benefits they have gained from the experience. Here, Oonagh discusses the results.

Harnessing social action to support older people

The Nuffield Trust recently published a key report, entitled ‘Harnessing social action to support older people’, to present the findings of their evaluation of seven social action projects funded by the Reducing Winter Pressures Fund.