Volunteers can enrich the lives of so many

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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If it were a commercial enterprise, it would surely have a branding that was the envy of its rivals. For just about everybody has heard of ‘Meals on Wheels’ and recognises immediately what the phrase stands for.

And how many people, we wonder, have benefited from the service since the Women’s Voluntary Service for Civil Defence (later to become the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) began distributing cooked food back in wartime Britain.

As well as servicemen, the recipients in World War Two were those unfortunate enough to have lost their homes as a result of enemy bombing.

Shocked and despairing, how grateful they must have been to the kindly women who turned up to give them hot food with which to replenish their energy as they began to try to rebuild their lives.

Nowadays, of course, the recipients of Meals on Wheels are in a more fortunate position, insofar as each has a roof over his or her head and none is living in a country gripped by the effects of war.

But their need is nonetheless great, and each day thousands of people rely on the arrival of a member of a new generation of kindly women, bringing not only a nourishing hot meal but also a quick hello and demonstration of friendliness to someone who may well not have much contact with others for the rest of the day.

And if we wonder how many people have benefited from this service over the years, then we wonder too how many thousand dedicated women have given of their time over the years to help operate the service.

For them, the reward has been the knowledge that they have helped enrich the lives of so many people who deserve help and assistance. So we hope that the call today for new volunteers for the WRVS in this area will lead to a good response and to a new batch of people who want to make a positive difference to the lives of others.

As Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt says in backing the appeal today, volunteering is one of the most rewarding things someone can do.