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Helpforce receives grant from The Burdett Trust to support nursing leaders engaging volunteers in the NHS

15th November 2018

Helpforce, the Community Interest Company helping to create the future of volunteering in the NHS, has received a grant from The Burdett Trust to support nursing leaders engaging volunteers in the NHS. The funding, which will be provided over the next three years, will enable Helpforce to engage with nursing leaders in NHS Trusts to jointly create roles for volunteers to support patients in their care.

Well integrated volunteers have the power to benefit staff and patients by providing a wide range of important additional support. This includes helping patients at meal times, keeping patients active, engaging with those with dementia or supporting people being discharged from hospital.

It is estimated that around 78,000 people volunteer within NHS Trusts, but they are rarely integrated into NHS strategies or service delivery plans. As a result, this limits their ability to make the differences to patient experience. By engaging nursing leaders at ward and departmental level, and encouraging the co-design of support by volunteers into the delivery of care, there is great potential to increase the impact volunteers make.

Kay Fawcett, OBE, Education Lead & Clinical Advisor, leading on the work for Helpforce, said:

This is a great opportunity to develop volunteering initiatives that support our nursing staff, and can be shared across the NHS by nursing leaders. We will engage with nurses and wider multidisciplinary teams to gain insight into the roles that best reduce the burden on clinical teams, allowing them to focus on care delivery.

We will ensure that such roles are co-designed between clinical teams, volunteers and their managers. Volunteers supporting frail patients through meaningful conversations and social interactions have the potential to make a huge difference. This funding provides us with an enormous opportunity to increase the impact of volunteers, adding value to the patient experience, supporting clinical teams, and helping the volunteers themselves.”

Dame Christine Beasley, Trustee at Burdett Trust for Nursing, said:

“We are delighted to work with Helpforce to help ensure that volunteers can play a greater role supporting our nursing and healthcare professionals. This will not only benefit the nursing staff, it will benefit the public and communities as more interesting volunteer roles become available to more people across our health service. We believe, like Helpforce, that now is the time to co-design volunteer roles that become truly integrated into hospitals and community settings. It is a very exciting moment for all our health and wellbeing.”

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

Helpforce is thrilled to work with The Burdett Trust and the NHS to engage senior nurses helping develop effective volunteer roles. This work will help drive forward the enormous benefits of volunteering, and enable Helpforce to best support nurses and care staff, encouraging volunteering roles to become a bigger part of their working lives.”


For further information please contact Alice Jaffe ( on 0207 403 2230

Notes to Editors

About Helpforce

Helpforce is using the power of volunteering to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the UK. It wants to see a recognisable improvement in the range and quality of volunteer roles available to support patient care in hospital and at home. Helpforce was formally established as a Community Interest Company in December 2016 and both its Board and Advisory Board includes leaders from across the NHS, voluntary and wider public sector.

About The Burdett Trust for Nursing

The Burdett Trust for Nursing was established in 2002 with the aim of making charitable grants to support the nursing contribution to healthcare. The Trustees target their grants at projects that are nurse-led and that empower nurses to make significant improvements to the patient care environment.