McCarthy & Stone aims to raise £130,000 for Royal Voluntary Service this year. It’s a partnership of shared values, says Rachel Halliwell
Enriching the lives of older people and their families is at the heart of what both McCarthy & Stone and Royal Voluntary Service do. It is fitting that the two organisations unite as charity partners in 2017.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of McCarthy & Stone’s first retirement development, Waverley House in New Milton, Hampshire. To celebrate the company’s award-winning work in the subsequent four decades it has committed to raising at least £130,000 for the charity.
Clive Fenton, chief executive of McCarthy & Stone, said: “Royal Voluntary Service shares our vision to help older people live happier, healthier and longer lives. Money raised will go towards Royal Voluntary Service projects to enable the charity to support older people, from visits and refreshments in hospitals, to support for dementia carers, lunch clubs and home library services, as well as our own Grandfest and Sing Your Heart Out choir events.”
This has delighted Royal Voluntary Service chief executive David McCullough. “In my experience you only get truly great partnerships when you enjoy shared values, and here this is genuinely the case,” he says.
“McCarthy & Stone constantly strives to enrich the lives of the people it works with, just as our volunteers do. With everyone you speak to you get a strong sense that their work is far more than just a job. It’s clear that these people see themselves as part of an organisation that is doing something really special, and want to play their own part in making the lives of older people richer, safer and happier.”
These are core values that speak to those of Royal Voluntary Service. Each year the charity’s 35,000 volunteers support 100,000 older people in their homes, in hospitals and as they go out and about in their day-to-day lives. “Our volunteers are often older people themselves, who feel they have a lot to give to society,” Mr McCullough says.
“McCarthy & Stone seems to recruit people, just as we do, who genuinely care and want to make a difference to the quality of other people’s lives. On a practical level, there is no question that their retirement developments are impressive – the quality of the build and the sense of luxury and high standard of living you get as soon as you walk in is striking. What really sets these developments apart from so many others I’ve seen is how each one is very cleverly designed to bring people together and engender a strong sense of community. These are buildings that seem to have a strong, beating heart.
“McCarthy & Stone achieves this because it has a great knack of looking beyond what the function of a space is, and seeing clearly where chances might be created in it to encourage people to stop for a chat.’’
McCarthy & Stone is partnering with Royal Voluntary Service to hold three major fundraising activities. A series of vintage tea parties at developments will be held from February to April, with tea and cake, raffles, quizzes and wartime singalongs. Between April and July, skills workshops – including baking, jam-making, woodworking and dancing – will be held at developments across all regions of the country. A highlight will include a mini-festival in London to celebrate the craft skills of older generations.
From October until the end of the year, local choirs will be invited into developments where homeowners, staff and local communities will sing together.