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23rd June 2020



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Helpforce and NHS England today (6 September 2018) announced a new opportunity for NHS hospital trusts to develop and spread volunteer initiatives that increase support for busy staff, improve patient experience and offer rewarding roles for volunteers.

The programme builds on Helpforce’s existing work with 15 NHS trusts, five of which already have taken advantage of prior NHS England funding to develop a range of new volunteer services. These include helping with patient mobility on hospital wards, ‘bleep volunteers’ who assist patients and staff with a range of important tasks, and support with patient discharge and transport. Helpforce will increase the number of trusts it is partnering with in order to develop and spread high impact volunteer services. They aim to identify 10 volunteering initiatives from across the country
that have the potential to be scaled up and adopted across the NHS.

The selected Trusts will receive a share of the grant and support through Helpforce and its NHS and voluntary sector partners to a range of services, digital tools, resources and tailored guidance.

The announcement was made by Sir Malcolm Grant, Chairman of NHS England, at the NHS England AGM as part of a wider grant to Helpforce. A third of the funding will go directly to the 10 NHS Hospital Trusts, with the remainder used to build new infrastructure that will help increase the quality and scale of volunteering across the NHS. This will include developing an evidence-based model for implementing and measuring the impact of volunteer services, and extending a nationwide, peer-to-peer learning network for sharing best practice.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of Helpforce, said:

“We are delighted to be able to expand the number of trusts we are working with as it will enable more people to benefit from the helping hand of volunteers on their journey through hospital. We have been working closely with a small group of pioneering NHS Trusts and a range of voluntary sector partners such as The Royal Voluntary Service over the last year and we are pleased to be able to include other leaders. We know there are inspiring examples of volunteering already taking place
and want to learn from these as well as helping to scale them locally, regionally and nationally.”

Paddy Hanrahan, Managing Director of Helpforce, commented:

“We want to continue to build our understanding about how volunteers can help at specific points in the patient pathway and where they can have the greatest impact. The new initiatives might be around the hospital, at the point of discharge, or community based. We are interested in how trusts are working in partnership with local NHS and third sector partners to successfully deliver innovation.
Applications are open to all NHS Trusts in England and we look forward to receiving them.”

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