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Royal Voluntary Service Photography Exhibition on Wednesday 31st October - Monday 5th November 2018
From air raids to Men in Sheds: A new photography exhibition captures 80 years of voluntary service
- Old meets new as archive images displayed alongside original portraits by celebrity photographer, Nicky Johnston capturing the spirit of volunteers
A new photography exhibition starting on Wednesday 31 October 2018 at London’s Oxo Tower will tell the surprising story of 80 years of voluntary service in Britain.
The Gift of Time is being held to mark the 80th anniversary of one of the largest volunteering organisations in British history, Royal Voluntary Service.
On display will be original, never seen before photography and archive images capturing the spirit of voluntary service over the last eight decades. Fascinating images from Royal Voluntary Service’s archive (one of the largest charity archives in the UK and recognised by UNESCO as one of the most important collections in the UK, particularly for women’s history) will tell the story of how the charity’s volunteers, or the ‘women in green’ as they were once known, started out by helping civilians during World War Two from billeting children to supporting during air raids.
And bringing it up to date, celebrity photographer, Nicky Johnston will be displaying a set of original portraits produced to depict today’s volunteers in action. More used to shooting A Listers such as Julie Walters, Justin Bieber, Joanna Lumley and Judi Dench for glossy magazines, Nicky’s portraits celebrate the ordinary men and women who give so generously of their time to help others. The shoot took him all over the country to meet with Royal Voluntary Service volunteers at lunch clubs, in hospitals and even in a Shed.
Nicky’s portraits champion the vital role Royal Voluntary Service volunteers play in Britain today, from assisting the NHS to helping older people live healthier and happy lives.
The free exhibition will run from 31st October to 5th November at the gallery@oxo on London’s Southbank.
Founded in 1938 as the nation prepared for war, the Women’s Voluntary Services (as it was formerly called) galvanised over a million women to volunteer to support on the home front. From evacuating children to running air raid precautions, the ‘women in green’ were central to Britain’s defence and resilience. In the decades that followed, the organisation and its unique philosophy of voluntary service maintained its place at the heart of civic life. It tackled extraordinary social challenges – from advising on what to do in case of a nuclear attack to organising holidays for disadvantaged children to setting Derby & Joan social clubs.
Today, Royal Voluntary Service continues to be one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and in the community. The simple acts of kindness its volunteers provide, whether popping in for tea and a chat, helping out with a lift to a GP or social appointment or running chair-based exercises on ward to prevent pyjama paralysis, help make communities stronger and relieve the pressure on overstretched public services. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.
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