Celebrating the work of volunteers

The UK is celebrating Volunteers’ Week in recognition of the invaluable contributions of people who offer up their time.

The week acknowledges and says “Thank you” to the millions of people who give freely of their time, skills and expertise to volunteer in our health and care services, as well their own communities, to help and support other people.

A survey to coincide with this week has found that more than a third of British adults would be willing to volunteer to support the NHS.

The study, for the Royal Volunteer Service (RVS), found people were most interested in volunteering in shops or cafes, with 40 percent saying they would consider such work.

Some 39 percent said they could carry out practical service in the community – such as taking patients out on social visits – while more than a third (35 percent) expressed interest in carrying out hospital visits and 31 percent in helping on wards.

The poll surveyed 2,050 adults over the age of 18.

David McCullough, chief executive of the RVS, said: “Our volunteers have been supporting the NHS since 1948 and we are delighted to see that people are still willing to come forward to work alongside clinical teams to help support our greatest institution.

“Our trained volunteers can provide invaluable support in hospitals, freeing up clinical staff to carry out medical care.”

In February, an extra £1.2m of government funding was awarded to the RVS, Red Cross and Age UK to get more volunteers into A&E departments.

All this week the NHS England website is running blogs from volunteers, and the organisations who support them, to highlight the diversity of contributions and the commitment people have to making a difference and to improving the lives and experiences for everyone.