Tributes paid to nation’s unsung health and care service volunteers

The UK celebrates Volunteers’ Week from today until 7 June in recognition of the invaluable contributions of people across all sectors 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.

As the week begins, a survey 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 the role of most interest to people was 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, again, more than a third (35 percent) expressed interest in carrying out hospital visits and 31 percent in helping on wards.

The research was carried out for the charity, which is dedicated to helping older people remain independent, by polling company ICM – which surveyed 2,050 adults over the age of 18.

David McCullough, chief executive of the RVS, said: “Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have been supporting the NHS since it was founded in 1948 and we are delighted to see that volunteers 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 on the NHS England website we are running a series of 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.