8 Jun 2018
The Helpforce initiative, which has supported and evaluated volunteering pilot projects within NHS Trusts in England, has stimulated conversations about similar development in Wales
The intention is to set up a steering group in Wales, with
representation from NHS Trusts, Social Care and Third Sector, to
see how we can apply the Helpforce model to benefit Wales.
A report, 'Can
volunteering help to create better health and care?',
commissioned last year by Helpforce explored the potential impact
on patients, services, staff and on volunteers themselves of
different kinds of volunteer activity, both inside and outside of
A central question in the report is whether volunteering can help
to relieve any of the NHS 'pinch points', (such as hospital
discharge and the management of major chronic health conditions)
and if so, where the priorities should lie.
The report identifies that the health sector needs to be 'more
nimble in its use of communication and technology if it is to
broaden its appeal across the whole population'. It needs to
develop a new culture of participation, with increased
acknowledgement of the role of patients themselves and members of
their communities in processes of recovery.
Helpforce has five distinct strands to its work. One is the funding
and evaluation of high impact volunteering interventions
across different stages of the 'patient pathway'. Second
is the commitment to establishing a learning network and ways of
sharing best practice and evidence. Third is the development of
national support for volunteering such as a training programme
recognised by the NHS and the idea of a volunteer 'passport'
which would enable volunteers' training and experience to be
recognised as they move from one health care context to another.
Fourth is the gathering of evidence and the need for independent
evaluation, Finally is the development of an economic/business case
for volunteering, by quantifying its impact.
In Wales it is early days but there is an openness and enthusiasm
from key stakeholders to date, in embracing the Helpforce
model. Helpforce is currnelty advertising for
a new post of
UK Development Director to support and oversee
developments in Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. The
closing date for this is 18th June. Some
Lottery funding has been secured also for the appointment of a
country worker in Wales and this post will be advertised once the
foundation structures are in place. WCVA has agreed to act as a
'Country Partner' of Helpforce to facilitate developments in
For more information, contact Fiona Liddell firstname.lastname@example.org 0292043