Celebrating 80 years of service to the public

A new exhibition is to tell the story of more than 80 years of Royal Voluntary Service in Glasgow.

Compassion in Crisis at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum celebrates the contribution of volunteers in the city, from the Second World War to the Facebook generation

From collecting salvage and distributing ration books during the Second World War to supporting the emergency services at the Lockerbie disaster and running lunch and social clubs, the volunteers of Royal Voluntary Service have, for over 80 years, been there to offer comfort and compassion in crisis.

Now, the fascinating story of the volunteers of Royal Voluntary Service in Glasgow is being told at a new exhibit in the community exhibition space at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Running from Thursday, 3 October, until 31 January 2020, Compassion in Crisis chronicles eight decades of Royal Voluntary Service in the city, from its very beginnings, when the women of Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS) supported the Home Front to help win the war, to the vital role its volunteers play today.

Through a collection of documents, photographs, objects and film from Royal Voluntary Service’s Heritage Collection [and the modern day], Compassion in Crisis recounts how the organisation was founded to help civilians in the event of Air Raids, but ended up doing so much more.

Jennifer Hunt, archivist, Royal Voluntary Service Heritage Collection said: ‘We are delighted to share these stories of true voluntary service in this exhibition; raising awareness and giving recognition to thousands of volunteers who have gifted their skills and energy to helping others for over 80 years.’

Royal Voluntary Service is 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 charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals. This includes 10 retail outlets in Glasgow, supported by 300 volunteers.

Compassion is Crisis opens in the community exhibition space in the Expressions gallery on the ground floor of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Services in 1938 – and later the WRVS from 1966-2013 – they started out helping civilians during the Second World War. To mark their 75th anniversary in 2013, the organisation changed its name to Royal Voluntary Service to reflect the role played by all their volunteers, men as well as women.