Working with innovative Trusts

In partnership with NHS England, we are working with NHS hospital trusts to help fund and transform volunteering in and around hospital settings.

Thank you to the 91 NHS hospital trusts who submitted a fantastic 115 expressions of interest to our Volunteering Innovators Programme. It is exciting to see so many Trusts, across all settings, engaged with volunteering and keen to expand. It was clear from the applications there is a lot of effective and innovative volunteering practice going on across the country.

Helpforce volunteers

Helpforce is working with 12 NHS hospital trusts to develop high-impact volunteer innovations that will be refined and shared to help other trusts in the UK adopt effective volunteer services.

Ten are funded by NHS England funding, and will each receive a £75,000 grant. All twelve will have access to a range of supporting services, digital tools, resources and guidance. The trusts, who were chosen through a competitive process will focus on a range of specific volunteer roles. The volunteer interventions have been identified as those which could make the most impact if refined, tested and scaled to other NHS settings.

NHS England, an early supporter of Helpforce has made volunteering a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Read Emma Easton’s blog

We can create a future where safe and reliable volunteering in the NHS is part of our everyday lives, helping patients and our brilliant frontline staff to get the very best from the health service.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallet, Chair and Founder of Helpforce

Trusts in the programme

  • Barts Health NHS Trust – Bleep Volunteers in the Emergency Department, who help staff with a wide variety of tasks, from collecting prescriptions to transferring a patient to X-ray. Since starting the response volunteer project has remodelled the provision of voluntary services, with an active response programme replacing prior services. This service has gone from no service at the start of the project to all 4 hospital sites in the Trust having a service. A total of 100 + volunteers deliver this service.
  • Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust – a focus on volunteers providing peer to peer emotional support and enhancing patient experience in a mental health setting. Since starting there has been an increase in the uptake of debriefs following restraint incidents.  “My recovery has gone from strength to strength. My mental health is better than it has ever been”. Volunteer
  • Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust – to provide support with end of life care in the community, enabling more people to die at home if they choose.
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – volunteers providing support to patients before, during and after operations. Since starting, the Theatre Companions Project well embedded as part of surgery journey and showing excellent early results.
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Settle in Service with some volunteer transport. Since starting they have added a volunteer driver scheme to their Settle In Service to help patients get home from hospital as speedily and comfortably as possible. 
  • North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – support with patient discharge, as well as the ‘Hospital to Home’ and transport services. Since starting they have increased their number of volunteer role as volunteers are now embedded on wards to assist with referrals and supporting clinical staff.
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust – support with end of life care in the hospital, and testing how Bleep Volunteers focused on end of life care can support requests from wards across the hospital. Since starting they have successfully been spreading this well established project in five Trusts outside Liverpool.
  • Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – assistance for patients at mealtimes. Since starting they have successfully grown in more sites with dietetic and speech and language therapists delivering training. Their plans to spread to Northern Care Alliance are underway.
  • Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust – providing patient engagement and support with a specially developed model for companionship. Since starting they have grown their volunteer numbers, with an increase of over a 1/3 due to Daily Mail Campaign. They are in the process of spreading their service to other areas.
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust – helping patients to stay mobile during their stay in hospital and supporting them with activities provided by physiotherapists. Since starting they are using Better Impact data to increase the potential of their volunteer project to make a difference.
  • The two trusts that are being supported by the Royal Voluntary Service – St James’s University Hospital in Leeds and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – will focus on developing mobility, nutrition and hydration volunteers. Since starting Leeds is bringing on more younger volunteer by actively targeting colleges and universities recruitment.