WITH the country back in lockdown, Royal Voluntary Service is calling on people in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to volunteer for an hour per week or more, to see their local community through these difficult times.

The charity's Hour of Need campaign hourofneed.org.uk, which is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, is calling for a repeat of the groundswell of generosity and positivity it saw back in March when people stepped forward to volunteer, to help see the NHS and the most vulnerable people through lockdown safely.

The call for volunteers comes on the back of research finding that more than 4.9 million over 50s, many with health conditions and without family nearby, say they would benefit from volunteer help this winter. In Wales, research revealed that over a third (35%) of people are concerned about the lack of support their friends or family will have access to throughout winter.

The service says that requests for help from the vulnerable and the NHS are rapidly increasing and volunteers are needed in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to support with a range of valuable services.

There are a variety of roles available, from helping vulnerable people recover at home after a hospital stay, to serving refreshments to NHS staff and patients. Particularly in demand are volunteers to help transport patients to or from hospital or the GP, so that shielding and vulnerable people can still attend vital medical appointments safely and confidently.

"It's already been an incredibly tough year for both our clients and the NHS, and the new lockdown presents even more challenges," said Karyn Morris, commissioned service operations manager for RVS in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

"The truth is that the more volunteers we have on board, the faster our communities will recover. If you can spare even just an hour a week you'll be doing an amazing thing for your community."

Lisa Belletty, health and wellbeing advisor at People's Postcode Lottery, added:

"We're delighted that players of People's Postcode Lottery have been able to support Royal Voluntary Service in its incredible efforts throughout the crisis so far. We now stand by the charity in its call for thousands more volunteers to help us move forward in the next phase of the fight against Covid-19."

The public can explore a range of volunteering opportunities by visiting the Hour of Need campaign on the Royal Voluntary Service website..