Back to Health News Update

30th June 2022


Welcome to the second edition of Back to Health News. It's great to be able to provide you with an update on the project work we are supporting our Back to Health partners to deliver.

It's just over a year since we launched the first cohort of our Volunteer to Career programme. Our article in this newsletter highlights how a structured approach for supporting volunteers into health and care careers is being embraced by an increasing number of organisations who see it as a part of the solution to the NHS workforce shortages.

Since our last newsletter the King's Fund have published their report: Adding Strategic Value: a strategic vision for volunteering in NHS Trusts. The report proposes six common components of volunteer services that facilitate a strategic approach to volunteering:

  • dedicated volunteer management capacity and capability

  • organisational leadership to develop volunteering

  • a plan for developing the scope and scale of volunteering

  • a means for developing and embedding new projects as part of service delivery

  • funding and resources that support delivery and development

  • building relationships with the wider community.

These resonate with our own findings and the support we are providing. One of the most significant characteristics of much of our project work is the extent to which NHS projects are linking up with community based volunteers and services. One of the lessons from the pandemic was how powerful communities can be when they come together to support vulnerable people - either whilst they are waiting to go into hospital and receive treatment or when they return home to recover from their treatment. By creating a pathway of support involving volunteers we can build on this spirit and help people get back to health so much more quickly and at the same time help the resources in health and care services go so much further. The article on the North Arden community meeting illustrates how we are supporting volunteer leaders in NHS Trusts to reach out to, and consult with, local communities.

For many of our Back to Health partners, our work is focussed on supporting the development and embedding of new projects - utilising the tools and guides in our ‘adopt and adapt service’. Our senior leader feature contains their reflections on the Helpforce companions model and how they are using our service guide and evaluation as a basis for adopting a service model developed in Brent.

Perhaps the most significant theme emerging from the report is the focus on leadership buy-in and support. This is where impact data included within a compelling business case can be so powerful to unlock much needed funds. The Back to Health partners working with our Insight and Impact service are now seeing the persuasive power of impact data emerging from their volunteering projects.

If you are interested in becoming one of our Back to Health partners we would love to hear from you. Please drop us an email at: I know some people may be concerned about how our work is funded - the good news is our partners do not have to fund the support we provide as we have secured funding from generous and supportive charitable trusts who share our ambition for growing and accelerating the impact of volunteering in health and care organisations.

Happy reading!

Mark Lever