Calling NHS organisations to get involved in an exciting campaign

20th November 2018 | by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett

We are delighted to let all NHS organisations know about an exciting campaign to benefit busy staff and patients within the NHS. Starting on 1st December 2018, the Daily Mail, in partnership with Helpforce, will be running a joint initiative inviting readers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to pledge their time to be volunteers for our NHS in 2019.

The NHS has a proud tradition of volunteering being at the heart of both the way it is funded and run. At its inception hospitals across the country were supported by philanthropists and the volunteers who were determined to make a positive contribution within their communities. Today with all the complexities of health and care facing the NHS the role for volunteers in supporting communities is stronger than ever before.

At this busy time of year, increasing the number of volunteers might well be furthest from your mind and we recognise that many NHS organisations have limited capacity to increase their volunteering capability. However, we know that effective volunteer services can significantly help staff, and improve patient experience. It is also a great benefit to the health and wellbeing of those that undertake volunteering. Helpforce have offered to manage this campaign and to work with you to ensure the number of volunteers coming through are manageable for your organisation. We are therefore asking for your help. Initially this is to understand your organisation’s desire and capacity to recruit more volunteers in 2019.

Your involvement

Helpforce will work with NHS organisations that want to be part of this unique campaign. We very much hope you will be part of this initiative to engage people in the future of our health and care. We would be very grateful if you could answer the questions listed below by using this web link 

  1. Would you like to recruit more committed volunteers? If yes:
    • Where would the volunteers be based (if you have more than one physical location)?
    • What type of roles are you looking to recruit into?
    • How many volunteers do you think you might be able to take on during 2019?
    • If there are any restrictions on the type of volunteers you might be looking for or any other information you think it would be helpful for us to know, please do also let us know
  2. If no, please do also let us know so that we do not inconvenience you and can signpost anyone from your locality who pledges elsewhere.
  • Would you like to receive further information about how Helpforce can support your work with volunteers?

Reminder of the web link to answer the questions.

How the campaign with the Daily Mail will work

Inspiring stories of volunteering will be featured by the newspaper throughout December, in the run-up to Christmas. These will demonstrate the range of volunteering roles available and highlight their impact on patients. The campaign will encourage people to get involved by filling out a simple online registration form, hosted on our website.

Helpforce’s website will contain clear information about volunteering so that potential volunteers understand the types of roles available, the timescales involved, and the required checks and training that will be carried out by participating NHS organisations. All volunteers will be 16 years or older, unless you advise us otherwise. Those interested will be advised that their volunteering roles are likely to be undertaken from the end of April, or early summer 2019 onwards.

Helpforce will approach individual trusts in January 2019 with information on local volunteers who have pledged a minimum of three hours per week for a minimum of six months, or one day a month for six months.

Please let us know your answers here, by the end of Monday 26th November if possible.  We very much look forward to hearing from you and hope you can join us on this exciting campaign.

Yours sincerely

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett

Founder and Chair, Helpforce

Helpforce

Helpforce was founded in 2016 by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett who had previously seen the huge value of volunteers as Chief Executive of Marie Curie, where they are considered the beating heart of the organisation. As Chair of Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, he saw the opportunity to build a national programme to promote the role and value of volunteering in hospitals and deliver volunteer-centred innovation and improvement across the UK – thus Helpforce was born.

Helpforce’s vision is to make volunteering an integral part of everyone’s health and wellbeing. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, and Baroness Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement, have both spoken of the important role that volunteering can play in supporting our wonderful NHS staff. Over the last 18 months, more than 90 trusts have applied to work with Helpforce and there is a strong movement towards integrating more volunteers in hospitals.