Summary of August’s networking discussion


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Created by Debbie Ambrose - Last updated a month ago | Tags:

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25 August 2022 at 8:12am

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Thank you to all the network members who joined us for this month's general networking session held on 18 August. The members were split into two groups and a variety of topics were discussed.

Engaging and supporting staff

One of our members is looking for good ideas and resources around engaging and supporting staff. Due to the Trust being spread across a County their volunteers are primarily managed by the clinical teams and she would like to develop more ways of supporting them. If you have any resources that you think would be of help please contact us at or you can post them yourself on our website here.

Supporting volunteers with physical disabilities and managing expectations

Many of you support volunteers who have additional needs and although it can be a challenge to manage volunteers’ expectations and ensure that they have a good experience it can also be very rewarding.

The advice from the group was to:

  • Manage expectations by having regular conversations with the volunteer.

  • Offer a short term project to give them a taste of volunteering, setting the expectations to a time limit that can then be reviewed.

  • Focus on the individual's skills, not the disability.

Success story:

  • One volunteer ended up running their own art sessions.

Funded projects:

Training to help people engage with the community:

  • Making every contact count - highly recommended

  • Against Hate Crimes

  • Guided conversation training

  • Waiting well calls

  • Motivational interviewing

Funding to complete or start projects

Finding the funding to start new projects or continue existing projects is always a challenge and often comes up in our network conversations.

  • Define your ‘project’.

  • Consider who can support you in developing a ‘business case’.

  • Better understanding what makes a strong business case for a programme/project.

  • Identifying key stakeholders, including decision makers.

  • Organise a stakeholder meeting to present your case, project and ideas .

  • Powerful discussions can be had when you have the right people around the table.

  • Be creative in thinking of potential resources.

  • Identifying and proving need.

  • Consider availability of funding to support Forces veterans into employment. Volunteering can sometimes be a direct route into a paid role and the Forces in Mind Trust may be able to help with funding for eligible projects.

  • Potential collaborative working with your local VCSE sector with a local charity as the lead applicant.

  • Find out what is being funded locally? What are the key health priorities?

  • Tesco fund community projects relating to healthy eating and may be worth approaching.

Reach out for Helpforce Capacity Building Support to help define the program/project which could be viable for funding

Volunteer recognition and changing perceptions

Volunteers bring humanity and normality for patients.” Volunteers are being recognised but often are not regarded as members of the team, but as ‘visitors who come and help’. By seeing a volunteer as part of the integral team changes the dynamics allowing the volunteer's role to be far more successful.

New volunteer role

One Trust is looking at a new role where the volunteer has access to patient information, uploading patient information or adding clinical notes. Does anyone do anything similar?

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Vy Tran

25 August 2022 at 8:49am


Great summary, thanks so much for sharing, Debbie.

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