2 little ducks; keeping loneliness at bay with buns and bingo

21 members of Admiral’s Motor Underwriting department recently organised bingo and afternoon tea for the Whitchurch Social Club in Cardiff. The club is supported by national charity Royal Voluntary Service, and its 50 strong members and over 20 volunteers look forward to meeting every week to chat and swap stories.

Through its Ministry of Giving, Admiral has generously donated £100,000 over two years to Royal Voluntary Service to help more groups set up like the Whitchurch Social Club.  Focused on bringing people together in South Wales, the donation funds a Community Engagement and Development Worker, who over the past year, has inspired and supported volunteer leaders and helpers who live in Newport, Swansea and Cardiff to share their time and talent.

Now 150 older people regularly visit 9 groups which are managed and supported by 28 new Royal Voluntary Service volunteers. The groups’ activities range from arts & crafts, to Mens & Hens Sheds to board games & singing.

Betty Davies, 99, is originally from the Aberdare valley, but now lives in Cardiff, regularly attends the Whitchurch Social Club said, “I come every week, it gets me out of the house and I’ve made lots of new friends.”

Kirsty Williams, who works in Admiral’s Motor Underwriting team, said, “We knew the members and volunteers like a game of bingo, so we bought some luxury biscuits and chocolates for the prizes. We also organised a free raffle and every member of our team bought a prize. We had everything from a bottle of whiskey to a joint of ham, which went down a storm! Every member of the department has said how much they enjoyed the afternoon and getting to know the members. It is something we would love to do again.”

Through volunteering or simply participating in social groups, clubs and activities people build and maintain their important social connections, find renewed purpose and keep physically active. As an added benefit, if volunteers are themselves older people, participation has the potential not only to benefit them personally, but also their peers and family.

Rebecca Kennelly, Director of Volunteering, Royal Voluntary Service said, “We know that social connection is very important both to our physical and mental health as we age.

The beauty of the Community Connections project is that it will have a lasting positive impact in local communities across South Wales, because the groups are self-sustaining they’re run by volunteers, and members pay a small fee toward the cost of the venue. These groups and their activities would not have taken place without Admiral’s generous donation."