Our plans

We have launched a new Volunteering Innovators Programme, in partnership with NHS England, to enhance and scale volunteering services with hospital trusts. By working closely with 12 NHS hospital trusts – and their NHS and third sector partners – we want to identify, celebrate, develop, and spread a range of volunteer services to support staff in the NHS; improve the wellbeing and experience of patients; and provide fulfilling roles to volunteers. The selected hospital trusts for the Helpforce Volunteering Innovators programme receive a £75,000 grant for up to 18 months, and access to a range of supporting services, digital tools, resources, and tailored guidance.

A Helpforce volunteer working in a hospital with a patient

Creating a National Leadership Programme for Volunteer Service Managers

With the backing of senior leaders in the NHS, and in partnership with Health Education England, we are bringing together experts in leadership and health education to build a nationally recognised programme for volunteer leaders and volunteers. To ensure this is co-designed from the ground, we are working with Volunteer Service Managers to design the training, and give their invaluable insights into the training needs of volunteers. This is a vital step for Helpforce. By supporting volunteer leaders to create a training programme, we are one step closer to ensuring the long term future of volunteers in health.

Digital support to improve the volunteer journey

We have analysed the typical user journey for volunteers wishing to help out in hospitals, and have found there are many barriers that deter potential volunteers. For instance the time taken to get necessary identity and DBS checks completed before you can start volunteering, or the inability to transfer training and achievements between NHS trusts. We will develop a digital solution to improve the journey for volunteers and ultimately attract and retain more volunteers in our hospitals.

Your NHS Trust and Helpforce – our plans to support your volunteer service

There are many benefits available to trusts working with Helpforce. This presentation from the October Helpforce event, given by Paddy Hanrahan, Managing Director, shows you how we will help you grow and improve your volunteer service. You will benefit from being part of the Helpforce Learning Network, available to all NHS trusts. Find out more about the Volunteering Innovators Programme, and how trusts can join groups to work on the volunteer interventions we develop, such as Dementia and End of Life support.

Helpforce was created to improve the lives of NHS staff, patients and our communities through the power of volunteering. We are shaping 21st century volunteering at a national scale in collaboration with the NHS, charities, and communities; and inspiring more people to play their part in the health and care of our nation.

Our objectives


  1. Inspire communities, individuals​​, and other organisations to share the benefits and responsibilities of our health and care by getting and staying involved
  2. Celebrate, share, and scale​​ best volunteering practice at local and national level through learning networks, packaged and tested volunteer services, and evidence of impact
  3. Support health and care providers with a national training programme to certify volunteers are safe and reliable and have the skills to underpin every aspect of our NHS
  4. Influence health and care leaders​​ to invest time and resource to help local communities support health and care staff, to the benefit of patients and volunteers alike.
  5. Forge collaborations between the NHS, charities, community groups, corporates and philanthropists​​ to put communities back at the heart of the health and wellbeing of us all.