This week, we launch our coverage of our 2014 charity of the year, the Royal Voluntary Service.
Peter Xiouris at an art group in the Royal Voluntary Service centre, High Street, Chatham
The organisation, formerly the WRVS, is in its 76th year and provides services to support people aged over 55, to help them live full, independent and fulfilling lives.
"We need to get more volunteers. It makes such a difference to their lives just having a bit of company once or twice a week" - Julie Roalf
Julie Roalf, manager of Medway’s services, said: “We are very excited to be the chosen charity.
“We are always very grateful for donations, but our biggest aim over the next 12 months is to encourage people to volunteer.”
There are 75 volunteers within Medway, and the charity has around 85 people on its books.
Its most popular service is befriending, which involves volunteers visiting isolated people and brightening up their day over a cup of tea and a chat.
Mrs Roalf, 49, added: “We have 30 older people on a waiting list for befriending, so we need to get more volunteers.
“It makes such a difference to their lives just having a bit of company once or twice a week.
Mary Treasure at an art group in the Royal Voluntary Service centre, High Street, Chatham
“A few hours a week, a month, or even a year is appreciated.”“We’re very flexible when it comes to volunteering. We have had people come to us who have been turned away from other organisations because they cannot do enough hours.
A day centre in Chatham High Street hosts a mix of activities, from cut-price beauty treatments and knitting, to yoga and basic computer courses, and the volunteers organise day trips and short breaks.
Afternoon clubs are also run in the Wigmore Darby and Joan Club in Howard Hall, Woodside, on a Monday, and at the Over 55s Thursday Club in Lower Stoke.
The sessions run between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, and older people are able to have a chat, play bingo and board games, listen to guest speakers and sign up to afternoon outings.
The charity also works in partnership with Age UK to help people after they have come out of hospital.
Age UK supports people the first six weeks out of hospital, but after that they are referred to the Royal Voluntary Service.
Kay Manning at an art group in the Royal Voluntary Service centre, High Street, Chatham
A popular transport service takes people to and from medical appointments and some drivers also double up as shopping helpers, either joining people on grocery trips or doing their shopping and then dropping it off at their homes.
To support the charity without volunteering, you can visit one of its cafés.
The Chatham centre café is open to everyone between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays.
There is also one in the disablement centre, for people with permanent medical conditions or severe physical disabilities, at Medway Maritime Hospital.
A quiz evening complete with fish-and-chip supper is being held on Saturday, February 22. Tickets cost £5 per person and include the cost of the meal.
The evening runs from 4pm to 7pm, and all profits go to the charity.
To book your place on the quiz night, or for more information on the charity's services and volunteering visit the centre at 95-97 Chatham High Street, email email@example.com or call 01634 817645.
You can also visit www.facebook.com/KentMedwayRoyalVoluntaryService.