Volunteers’ Week

It’s Volunteers’ Week – let’s thank the millions of volunteers involved in health and care.

We celebrated Volunteers’ Week between 1 and 12 June 2016. We wanted to thank the three million volunteers who give their time freely to support health, welfare and disability organisations and the many more who informally help in their communities. Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, gave her thanks and thoughts here. We featured blogs by different volunteers to find about more about what they do and the positive difference they make to others.

Volunteers of all ages, work across a range of health and care settings, with voluntary and community sector organisations, and in the community. They are involved in a wide range of different roles from mealtime assistants to singing on wards; from befriending, providing peer to peer support to being a governor or lay member; and from emergency responders to providing those absolutely vital cups of tea, having time for a chat or giving that extra bit of TLC.

Volunteers make a huge difference, adding value to services, helping people recover from ill health sooner, helping people to care for themselves and supporting better experience of care – and for that we thank them. We also know that for many volunteers giving up their time to support others helps their own health and wellbeing, enables them to feel part of their community, and gain new skills.

This is why volunteering is a key element of the Five Year Forward View and is critical in delivering more people and community focused care; and why the principle ‘volunteering and social action as key enablers’ must be embedded into New Models of Care and Sustainability and Transformation Plans.  Volunteering Matters and Royal Voluntary Service, along with other partners and NHS England’s Active Communities Programme are leading work for the  People and Communities Board to ensure volunteering and social action plays a key role in transformation and is embedded across the health and care system. It’s an exciting time for volunteering!

Want to volunteer?

There are many ways you can get involved in health and care at a national or local level, from shaping health services, volunteering in NHS or other care providers or by supporting your local community.

You can also sign up to In Touch NHS England’s twice monthly e newsletter which includes opportunities to get involved.

Further information

For further information on the work of the People and Communities Board, Active Communities Programme or to join the Active Communities Alliance please contact sara.bordoley@nhs.net

Volunteers’ Week blogs

Volunteering has been so fulfilling – Paul Box and Jane Obonyo

In the last of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, two people tell how their voluntary work with the Black Health Agency Skyline organisation has transformed their own lives: The BHA Leeds Skyline project delivers HIV support and prevention work within African communities in the city. It provides a safe space for […]

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Credit to Gillian for giving up her time – Angela Barrago

In the latest of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, the Project Manager for the Spice Time Credit project in Chorley, Lancashire tells an inspirational story of one volunteer who is supporting those who helped her overcome her own health problems: I met Gillian, a mum of three grown up children, a […]

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Giving something back to those who helped me so much – Paris Dehghani

In the latest of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, a mum and former asylum seeker tells how she is now helping the healthcare group that came to her aid: I started volunteering for Bevan Healthcare back in January. I’ve been a patient at Bevan for 10 years and have benefited very […]

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There’s something about Mary – Janice Holt

In the latest of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, a retired teacher tells of the joy and friendship she has found and brought to her voluntary work: I first found out about the work of the Care Homes Vanguard in Wakefield through St George’s Community Centre Health and Wellbeing Coordinator Sheena […]

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Hospital volunteering in the 21st century – Frances Blunden

In the latest in our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, the Chair of the NHS Providers Governor Policy Board gives a modern take on the tradition of volunteering in hospitals: I’ve just spent this morning volunteering at my local hospital – not running the gift shop or café, serving tea or coffee […]

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Volunteering helps people and helps me too – Aaron Wood

In the latest of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, we hear from a man whose voluntary work provides double the benefits:   I volunteer for The Leeds Disability People’s Parliament and the Partnership Board. NHS England encourages me to volunteer on the Board as it helps me develop my leadership skills. […]

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Volunteering is a work of heart! – Sally Knights

In the latest of our series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, the Voluntary Services Manager for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals details the huge role being played by a small army of people giving up their time for free: The year I turned 16, while deciding whether to go to college or find […]

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Chief Nursing Officer pays tribute to nation’s health volunteers

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, today praised the three million volunteers nationwide who give their time freely to support health, welfare and disability organisations. Marking the start of Volunteers Week 2016, Professor Cummings said she wanted to take the opportunity to thank the often “under-appreciated” volunteers across the country who support friends […]

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Kissing it Better: simply making a difference – Jill Fraser

In the first of a series of blogs to mark Volunteers Week 2016, the chair and co-founder of a healthcare charity gives a moving example of how three million volunteers nationwide, who give their time freely to support healthy, welfare and disability organisations, are making a real difference: The lady was very agitated. In the […]

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