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Did you know that the over-65 community’s contribution to volunteering is valued at £48bn a year?

Volunteering in retirement is not only an opportunity to connect with others, find purpose and improve your wellbeing, it’s actually responsible for 2% of UK GDP, making it just as good for the economy as it is for individuals.

But it’s not just our residents we’re invested in, it’s our staff too. Enabling volunteering in the workplace is a cornerstone to making sure people love what they do. In fact, it can boost their wellbeing by 80%.

And when you pair fulfilled community residents with happy staff, you create retirement villages where everyone thrives. That’s why we’ve partnered with OnHand - we want to make volunteering for residents and staff easy, so they easily can find local opportunities that align with them, get involved and feel fulfilled.

Empowering real change: OnHand initiative

OnHand helps people support their local communities and the planet, with thousands of initiatives to choose from. OnHand collaborate with companies like ours to help give people straightforward access to the initiatives that matter to them, from providing companionship calls to assisting with medication pickups to lifestyle pledges that reduce your carbon footprint.

It’s all accessible on their easy-to-use app. You simply open the app, find the initiative you want to get involved with and accept the request.

Kevin O'Brien, CFO, comments, 

Personally, I appreciate how it brings attention to everyday acts of kindness and larger societal issues, such as diversity and inclusion, and offers practical steps to contribute.

We’ve got 51 excited employees, or “Onhand Heroes” making strides, collecting points and having fun on the leaderboard and we can’t wait to see where it goes.

Our teams are seeing the benefits

Melanie Faulkner, Assistant VM at Mayford Grange has been making the most of the opportunities OnHand have provided: "It instils in me a sense of pride knowing that I've been able to assist someone in need. It's not just about giving back; it's about feeling interconnected with the wider community."

To Kevin O’Brien, our CFO, OnHand is really making a difference. Kevin explains, "Having a background in the charity sector, I understand the intricacies of matching volunteers with suitable activities. OnHand eliminates this complexity, seamlessly connecting individuals with causes.”

How we’re already on hand in our communities

While partnering with OnHand is going to make volunteering even more accessible for staff and residents, we’ve always valued doing what we can to give back to our local and wider communities.

In 2022, we ran the Elmbridge Village Community Grant competition. The exciting initiative asked Elmbridge Village residents to submit their ideas for sustainable projects that would enhance the local area. All three shortlisted ideas were unanimously selected by our judges! They include a children’s play area, regeneration of the local green in the village and a sensory garden.

Well, two out of three are now complete. The projects saw Elmbridge residents and local volunteers come together to build the Brian France Playground and the Janes Briggs’ Sensory Garden. These projects, brought to life by our volunteering program, have set a precedent for what residents, staff and locals can achieve together — transforming our surroundings and strengthening communal bonds.

Beyond that, volunteering amongst retirees has been shown to benefit wellbeing, offering benefits for both physical and mental health.

Looking forward, we can see the OnHand app becoming instrumental in facilitating projects just like this. We’re excited to see where it takes us.

Living our purpose

With OnHand, we’re fostering connections and opportunities so that we're not just giving back to our communities; we're enriching the lives of our residents and staff.

In our communities, we’re proud of being so much more than bricks and mortar, cultivating a culture of kindness, responsibility, and active contribution. While we’re starting with our staff, we’re excited to bring it to our residents too. So stay tuned!

Interested in learning more about our communities, or eager to join in as a resident? Get in touch or join us at one of our open days and experience firsthand the sense of community that defines life at Retirement Villages.

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