Volunteering Innovators Programme
Working with a range of NHS trusts across England, with funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement and Royal Voluntary Service, the programme developed and tested a wide array of volunteering innovations across the patient pathway. The aim was to produce evidence of the impact that the innovations made on people and services, and a set of volunteering service guides to help other NHS Trusts adopt and benefit from these innovations.
Accelerating the growth and impact of volunteering
Our evidence clearly indicates that when NHS Trusts invest in their volunteer services, there are rich rewards for staff, patients, hospitals, and the volunteers themselves. This summary report looks at the overall impact that this programme’s evidence and findings have on the NHS.
A key ambition of the Volunteering Innovators Programme was to improve the evidence base around health volunteering and prove measurable benefits for patients, staff, volunteers, and services.
By collecting and analysing a large amount of data from the NHS Trusts involved, Helpforce compiled a detailed report which shares the key findings from the evidence, that shows how volunteering is making a difference.
Find out about the Volunteering innovations
We have developed Volunteering Service Guides for nine of the innovations funded by NHS England & Improvement. The guides share detailed information and learning, considerations and benefits of the service to an organisation looking to adopt and adapt one of the volunteering innovation services.
Evidence from the two Royal Voluntary Service funded projects can be found in the Key Findings report.
Barts Health NHS Trust
Active Response Volunteers
A team of volunteers trained to complete specific tasks in response to the fluctuating needs of a busy hospital such as ‘Pharmacy runs’ to help save staff time.
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Restraint Debrief Service
Volunteers with lived experience deliver debrief sessions with patients suffering from severe mental ill health, when they have had to be restrained
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Theatre Support Volunteers
Volunteers provide a support role focused on alleviating anxiety and providing emotional support before, during and after undergoing medical eye procedures in a clinical theatre environment.
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
In order to reduce readmissions up to 72 hours, the Trust’s ‘Settle in’ service supports vulnerable patients with transport from hospital, settling in at home, before handing over to local community support.
North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Trust's ‘Home but not Alone’ volunteer service supports vulnerable patients on the ward and throughout their discharge from hospital, support continues in the patients home for up to 28 days.
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
End of life Care
Volunteers working alongside staff to provide companionship to patients, who are approaching the end of life that may otherwise die alone, and give support to families and carers.
Salford Care Organisation - Northern Care Alliance NHS Group
Volunteers support patients with a variety of specific meal time tasks that help to improve the wellbeing of patients and reduce the risk of malnutrition and dehydration.
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Adult and Older Adult Companionship
The Trust's Engage service provides companionship and cognitive stimulation to vulnerable patients in order to reduce anxiety and improve mood and overall wellbeing.
Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Activity & Mobility Support
Volunteers help patients maintain existing levels of mobility and independence while staying in hospital by encouraging them to go for walks, get dressed into day clothes, or engage in chair based activity or exercise, to reduce the risk of deconditioning whilst in hospital.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
Activity Support and Mobility, programme funded by Royal Voluntary Service
Volunteers support patients with mobility, nutrition and hydration, to reduce the risk of deconditioning, malnutrition and dehydration whilst at home in the community.
St James's University Hospital
Mobility Volunteers, programme funded by Royal Voluntary Service
Volunteers support patients with mobility, nutrition and hydration, to reduce the risk of deconditioning, malnutrition and dehydration whilst in hospital.
Please note: Volunteering Service Guides have not been developed for the two projects funded by the Royal Voluntary Service, and another project (funded by NHS England & Improvement) with Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust was delayed and moved into another national programme on End of Life Care, which is ongoing.