Staying warm and well this winter

Royal Voluntary Service advice on staying safe and well this winter

We can all tend to feel cold, under the weather and a little low at this time of year.  It’s tempting to hibernate when wintry days set in, but whatever our age, staying social and active is important to health and well-being.

Our 20,000 volunteers provide practical support and companionship in hospitals and in the community.  We pay regular visits to older people at home to have a conversation, accompany them on an outing, support them to do gentle exercise or get them to that all important hospital appointment. The intention is always to provide support to help people stay social and physically active.

Users of our services, clubs and social activities tell us that winter can make them feel anxious and vulnerable, from fears of falling over or running out of essentials to feeling the cold.

Here are our top tips for a comfortable winter:

  1. Keep warm and active

Staying warm is vital to winter wellness.  Drink hot drinks and eat warm, nutritious, regular meals like soups and stews.  Heat one or two rooms rather than heating the whole house and wear warm clothes in layers.  Being indoors doesn’t stop you being active so, wherever possible, get up and move around regularly.  If your mobility is limited, you can still get the body moving with chair-based exercises like stretching and punching – see Move it or Lose it exercises on our website.

  1. Keep hydrated

Hydration is essential to health, even in cold weather, so drink plenty of essential fluids like tea, coffee, warm squash and water.

  1. Be prepared

Take advantage of milder weather to get out and about to stock up on basic groceries and essential household goods and collect medical prescriptions to avoid having to head out if the weather turns.  Royal Voluntary Service volunteers provide help with shopping and household tasks through our services up and down the country.  You can find out more about the help Royal Voluntary Service has on offer in your local area by visiting our website.

  1. Reduce the risk of falls

Check weather forecasts and local news regularly to prepare for cold snaps, ice or snow.  Only head out if conditions allow, and if you have no choice but to go out, wrap up warm and wear study, comfortable shoes or boots with a good grip.

  1. Stay social

Being sociable may not be the top of our winter priorities but staying in touch is good for health and helps prevent isolation and loneliness.  Whether it’s a phone chat with a family member, a natter with a neighbour over a cup of tea or meeting friends at a local social group, it’s good to talk.  Royal Voluntary Service volunteers run a host of social activities, from lunch and dance clubs to exercise and craft classes.  You can expect a warm welcome, a friendly environment and a hot drink.  Volunteer drivers also provide community transport when walking or public transport is not an option.

Royal Voluntary Service blog for Stay Safe Support   

Author: Sam Ward, Director of Commissioned Services at Royal Voluntary Service


To find local services from Royal Voluntary Service in your area, visit:


To find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service, call 0330 555 0315, email: or visit


About Royal Voluntary Service

  • Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the country. We inspire and enable 20,000 volunteers to give their skills, experience, energy and time to help people in need in hospitals, at home and in the community.
  • Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service (subsequently the WRVS) in 1938, the charity started out helping civilians during the Second World War.
  • To mark our 75th anniversary in 2013, we changed our name to ‘Royal Voluntary Service’ to reflect the role played by all our volunteers, men as well as women.
  • The charity’s volunteers improve patient experience in hospital, aid recovery after a stay on ward, help older people better support themselves at home and stay fit and active and build meaningful social connections.
  • Royal Voluntary Service supports volunteers to run services in the community such as lunch and dining clubs, physical activity classes, craft, gardening and other hobby groups.
  • The charity is one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 230 volunteer-run shops, cafes and trolley services providing tea and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors. Royal Voluntary Service promotes healthy eating and drinking in hospitals through its Healthier Choices  It has been ranked top of the Healthy Hospital Food League Table by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food and has been awarded a Social Enterprise Mark for its retail operation.
  • We work collaboratively with other charities, social care providers and the NHS to help create a society where everyone feels valued and involved. We are partnering with HelpForce to scale up the number of volunteers embedded in the NHS.
  • For more information on the Royal Voluntary Service, please visit