Mar 28, 2019 / by Alister Houghton


Third City helped Royal Voluntary Service increase the number of people volunteering at its lunch clubs through a campaign linking with Masterchef judge William Sitwell.

Campaign: Cooking for a Crowd
Client: Royal Voluntary Service
PR Team: Third City
Timing: September – October 2018



Over the last 80 years, Royal Voluntary Service has inspired millions of ordinary men and women to give up their time in order to meet the needs of the day.

A key service offered by Royal Voluntary Service is its lunch clubs, which provide a place for older people to socialise and enjoy a hot meal in the company of others every week. Up and down the country, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers run nearly 80 lunch clubs that serve upwards of 50,000 meals to diners each year.

With such clubs in high demand, and realising a need to make the service available in more communities, Royal Voluntary Service embarked on a campaign to champion and celebrate the work of its lunch club volunteers and inspire others to follow their lead.



  • Build a campaign to celebrate lunch club volunteers and the difference they make to older people in the community
  • Inspire more people to volunteer to start a lunch club in their community, or volunteer to support an existing one
  • Drive social engagement among core campaign audiences via organic social and influencer seeding, while generating extensive media coverage


Strategy and implementation

The team’s was to highlight the ‘spirit’ of lunch clubs by creating a parody of MasterChef. Both the service’s in-house team and Third City looked to bring the campaign to life with a tongue-in-cheek film putting the culinary skills of a lunch club volunteer cook under the scrutiny of MasterChef judge and food critic, William Sitwell. The result was a MasterChef spoof video that landed key messages in a fun and engaging way.

For the media relations aspect of the campaign, the film was supplemented with key stats on the number of meals cooked by the charity’s volunteers each year. Additionally, new campaign research was released to link with media interest around loneliness, showing one in five people over 70 eat most of their meals alone.

On social, the team built a range of audience segments were on Facebook and Instagram to target consumers (segments included age range, geographical locations, retirees, interested in charity work or cooking.)

The charity used Twitter to engage with influencers, celebrities and organisations, mapped against a range of interests; from general cooking to MasterChef, to those focused directly on social care and supporting people in later life.

In order to further demonstrate the talents of the lunch club cooks, Sitwell worked with Royal Voluntary Service volunteers to compile a cookbook of hearty, home cooked lunch club favourites, which was made available for download.


How did Cision help with the campaign?

Royal Voluntary Service and Third City used Cision’s monitoring software to track and measure the results of the campaign.



The campaign achieved its goal of getting the public to step forward and volunteer. At the end of the campaign, over 300 people had enquired about volunteering at a lunch club and with the charity’s other services.

Social results:

  • The video reached more than 500,000 people across Facebook
  • #Cooking4ACrowd had more than 600k impressions across Twitter, with support from celebrities, food bloggers and other charities encouraging more than 18,000 people to click through to Royal Voluntary Service
  • Tweets and messages of support from nearly 50 influencers including David Baddiel, John Partridge, Thomasina Miers, Liberty London Girl and Madeline Shaw took the volunteering message to a further 1.5million people

Media coverage:

  • Articles appeared across a range of media including Mail on SundayThe Daily TelegraphWaitrose WeekendHuffington Post and multiple BBC radio and print syndications
  • Nearly all of the online publications included the campaign video and links to Royal Voluntary Service’s website, calling on people to volunteer their time. The language used in media articles reflected key messages from the campaign on the important role of lunch clubs in communities across the country and the amazing volunteers who run them
  • William Sitwell was inspired by his experience meeting lunch club volunteers and diners. This came across in his media interviews with Waitrose Weekend and Press Association and through posts shared on his personal social channels
  • Overall the campaign’s media component achieved over 90 pieces of coverage with a reach of 31 million

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About Alister Houghton

Alister Houghton is UK Content Marketing Manager at Cision, writing and commissioning thought leadership, interviews and opinion pieces covering the earned media, marketing and journalism spheres. As well as working in a variety of roles across the business, he has previously managed media and web content for the British American Football Association.