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Planning Retirement Online

Improve your health with volunteering

April 2013


WRVS VolunteerNew research from the WRVS shows that older people who volunteer also experience better health themselves.

David McCullough, chief executive of the WRVS tells Laterlife all about it.......

“Last year here at the WRVS we completed a study which found that older people who volunteer are less depressed, have a better quality of life and are happier.

At a time when older people’s health is at risk because of cuts to services, increasing volunteering amongst older people offers a new route to improving their wellbeing.

Our research, which examined the relationship between volunteering in later life and wellbeing, looked at the impact of volunteering of those over state pension age on depression symptoms, quality of life, life satisfaction and social isolation. The results showed an improvement in volunteers, compared with non-volunteers, for each of the well-being outcomes examined. The study also found that the more volunteering activities that a person is involved in, and the more frequently they do those activities, the happier they are.

It is clear from this analysis that volunteering has a direct impact on people’s well-being, from their general quality of life, through to how satisfied they are with their lives and also on reducing symptoms of depression. Despite this, volunteering is still undervalued by our society.”

Now the WRVS is calling for more volunteers and this could be a perfect opportunity for middle ages plus people to get involved - helping themselves keep fit and happy by helping others!

The WRVS is one of Britain’s leading age positive volunteering charities and already has more than 40,000 volunteers working to help make Britain a great place. More information on

The NHS support the findings from the WRVS study, and along with popular topics such as cold and flu, stress and dental health, it includes a whole section on volunteering on its website.

It says that volunteering doesn’t always mean giving up whole days at a time. There are many opportunities available to suit even the busiest of people.

Earlier this year there was another step forward for volunteering in the UK when the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) merged with Volunteering England. There are now Volunteer Centres across the country,local organisations that provide support to volunteers and the organisations that involve them. More information on the NCVO.

WRVSThe Red Cross also helps people find good volunteering roles that suits their circumstances and interests. They say they have a wide range of volunteer opportunities around the UK so there is something to suit everyone. They offer training to become a fully-fledged Red Cross volunteer – one of a huge family of 20 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers throughout the world . More information on

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