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My first six months as Chief Executive at Helpforce

18th December 2019

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I always ask new employees what they have enjoyed, been surprised by, and learnt, after their first six months in a new job. Turning the tables on myself, I’m delighted to share my reflections.

When I arrived in June 2019, the Helpforce team were matching the many people who had offered to volunteer in the NHS. What surprised me was the incredible sense of pride people have for ‘their NHS’ – so much so that they showed great enthusiasm despite the matching process taking longer than expected and the training and commitment required of them before starting their role. Many say how pleased they are to have an opportunity to give back to the doctors and nurses who are always there for them in times of trouble.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role has been visiting the many projects that Helpforce is supporting in the NHS. Witnessing the range of innovative volunteer roles which have huge impact – whether it be transport from home to hospital, hand holding during eye surgery, support for patients during mealtimes or taking time to settle people in at home following a hospital stay – is inspiring. It is evident just how much this support is appreciated by both patients and staff. And to top it all the volunteers get so much from being given the opportunity to provide this support.

I have learned so much from my brilliant new colleagues at Helpforce and all of the wonderful charities and NHS Trusts we are working with. But one lesson is clear – creating high impact volunteering roles does not cost the earth. A relatively small amount of investment in volunteer management and administration can make a big impact. Which is why we will continue to share these exciting projects with a wider audience and encourage more people to embrace and champion the role of volunteers so that more patients and more staff can benefit from their support. Here’s to the next 6 months!

Mark Lever