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The National Learning Hub for Volunteering launches

7th June 2020

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Funded by Health Education England and developed by Helpforce, a charity that promotes the power of volunteering, the new National Learning Hub for Volunteering provides training and education for volunteers and the staff that support them. With free, open access to high quality learning, volunteers and volunteer leaders will develop in their roles, find new career opportunities, and bring valuable skills to support our health and care.

Through the hub, volunteers have access to the National Volunteering Standards developed by Helpforce in conjunction with volunteer service managers and volunteers. The training includes a valuable induction for volunteers, and training developed with Health Education England, e-Learning for Healthcare, which will help them complete the new National Volunteer Certificate. These courses aim to improve standards as well as help volunteers demonstrate their skills and knowledge as they support staff, and the individuals they care for in health and care settings.

Kay Fawcett OBE, Education Lead and Clinical Advisor at Helpforce, said: “We were thrilled to partner with Health Education England to develop the National Learning Hub for Volunteering. It has always been our ambition to raise volunteering standards across the country and improve the consistency and standardisation in volunteer induction. The hub, which was co-designed with volunteers and volunteer leaders, brings together the best training resources available, from respected providers such as The Open University, e-Learning for Healthcare and many others.

“As we face the challenges that COVID-19 brings, we are seeing a greater need for volunteers, in health and care settings and in the third sector. This training is an invaluable platform to ensure they feel safe and can quickly start volunteering to take the strain off frontline healthcare workers. In response to the current COVID-19 we are constantly updating free materials on the hub to ensure volunteers understand what this outbreak means for them and how to volunteer without risking their safety.

“Learning never stops and the National Learning Hub for Volunteering will continue to be a valuable resource for all volunteers, and those who work with volunteers, who wish to advance their career, gain new skills and achieve accreditation. We will continue to bring new tools, resources and learning providers into our hub to ensure volunteers continue to make a positive difference in health and care.”

Laura Roberts, Health Education England’s Director of Skills Development and Participation, comments: “NHS Health Education England are proud to partner with HelpForce in launching our National Education Hub for volunteers and volunteer service managers. The hub builds on the excellent and ongoing work of e-Learning for Healthcare, the Open University and many others to bring online volunteering education and training for those in health and social care, uniquely, into one gateway.

It has never been more important to ensure our volunteers are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to support their communities, friends and families. I am excited to see what the future holds for volunteers in our sector, and I hope that the Hub will support and inspire our volunteers to continue on in their incredibly important and valuable contribution.”

Barry Pridmore, Volunteer Manager at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, believes it will make a huge difference: “The new learning hub by Helpforce is a real game changer and a fantastic tool that encourages the development of volunteer management professionals to improve their skills and support their personal development, it also offers volunteers the opportunity to access quality training and work towards an national NHS volunteering standard. The learning hub will provide much needed support to all areas of health and social care volunteering and I am looking forward to its launch.”

To visit the hub, please go to: https://volunteerlearning.community/

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. Both its Board and Advisory Council includes leaders from across the NHS, voluntary and wider public sector.

About Health Education England

Health Education England (HEE) is the national leadership organisation for education, training and workforce development in the health sector. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care. It has been operational since June 2012.

HEE exists to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce has the right numbers, skills values and behaviour at the right time and in the right place.