Come on chaps, the WRVS needs you! Why the women's voluntary service wants men to join upWRVS launched search for members to befriend male pensionersStudy found more than a third of men over 75 battle lonelinessWRVS believes issue may be alleviated by recruiting male volunteers who can be companions to the over-75s
01:52 GMT, 4 February 2013
04:46 GMT, 4 February 2013
Alone: The charity started the search for volunteers to befriend pensioners after a study found more than a third of men over 75 battle loneliness (file picture)
A football match or a busy pub are perhaps not the first places you’d expect to find would-be volunteers for the WRVS.
But that’s exactly where a manhunt for members to befriend male pensioners may take an organisation which is often identified with women’s flower arranging or tea afternoons.
The WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Services) has launched the search after a study found that more than a third of men over 75 – around 200,000 – battle loneliness and spend 12 hours a day or even more on their own.
These men are less likely to confide in their friends and family about their feelings and so may become increasingly isolated.
The WRVS believes the issue may be alleviated by recruiting male volunteers who can be companions to the over-75s for social activities or to watch sports together.
In its drive for male members, the organisation hopes to shed the ‘women-only’ image which has persisted despite the fact that it already has 6,000 men currently among its 40,000 members
Founded in 1938 by Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading as a British women’s organisation to aid civilians, its women played a crucial role on the home front during the Second World War. The WRVS took in its first male recruits in 1949.
It now provides a range of services, including Meals on Wheels, community transport and ‘Good Neighbours’ companions for those who live alone, for 100,000 pensioners and housebound people each month.
Sarah Farndale, of the WRVS, said: ‘We are launching a manhunt. More male volunteers are needed to tackle the loneliness experienced by many older men which can have a detrimental effect on their physical health and wellbeing.
‘Instead of a lady popping in to an older guy’s house for a cup of tea and a biscuit, a male volunteer who will go down the pub or to the football or cricket with them can make all the difference.’
The WRVS recruitment drive follows research showing that more than 3.2million plan to start volunteering – many inspired by the ordinary men and women who were Games Makers at last year’s London Olympics.
The WRVS provides a range of services, including Meals on Wheels, community transport and 'Good Neighbours' companions for those who live alone