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During Volunteers’ Week, the national medical director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, is calling on health organisations to support volunteering for young people.
Throughout my career in the NHS, I’ve seen first-hand the extraordinary impact that volunteers have across the health service.
That is why I’m pleased to support #iwill, an initiative backed by HRH The Prince of Wales, to promote volunteering and social action by young people.
I recently attended an event to celebrate the individuals who have already stepped up to this challenge, giving their time up to help others and learn new skills. I was struck by the passion and ability of those involved.
In the 70th anniversary year of the NHS it is more important than ever that we in the health service strive to engage and involve young people in our work. We want younger people to value the NHS and, crucially, recognise the many and rich career opportunities that it can offer. Evidence shows volunteering gives individuals the confidence and social skills to take on new opportunities, and also benefits patients and participating organisations by involving people who arrive bursting with fresh ideas and new approaches.
Already during 2018 over 40 health and care organisations have pledged to encourage and develop youth volunteer programmes as part of the NHS’s birthday celebrations. There are some excellent schemes underway to help you build your own programme – examples include young people volunteering as meal time buddies, and offering peer to peer support.
Blackpool Teaching Hospital is regularly involving children, young people and their families in the development and delivery of their service through a youth forum, Victoria’s Voice, that provides the organisation with new perspectives, and forges stronger relationships with young people who use their service. This in turn empowers staff to make changes to the care of patients in these age groups, such as finding ways to reduce anxiety or improve access to information.
Working with NHS Improvement, we are challenging more health and care organisations to join the 800-strong #iwill partners.
You can pledge using the #iwill website on behalf of your organisation and if you’ve already pledged please help spread the word.