The NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations provide a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the vital contribution volunteers make across the service and to thank them for their hard work and support.

We are also keen to use the milestone to increase volunteering and social action by young people in health and care by supporting the development of new opportunities for volunteering.

The celebration also offers the NHS and its partners an opportunity to inspire future generations of volunteers to play their part in shaping the next 70 years of innovation and care.

With this in mind, we are looking to work with organisations across health and care to develop more youth volunteering and social action opportunities. Organisations that want to be involved are asked to pledge their support.

Volunteering in local communities provides many benefits for young people and their development. This includes building a sense of community, and developing a range of skills such as team working, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving, all of which are crucial for their success in higher education and the workplace.

Organisations that support the campaign will be profiled throughout the year, providing exciting and tangible examples of how other organisations can build their youth volunteering and social action opportunities.

We will also showcase some of the excellent work that’s already taking place with young people. Practical support will also be available from partners such as Step Up To Serve, The Pears Foundation and NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).

Ways to pledge your support

There are four ways organisations can pledge their support:

  1. Develop new volunteer placements for young people aged between 16-25;
  2. Create opportunities for young people to be involved in the development or delivery of health services e.g. establishing a youth forum;
  3. Grow partnerships with other organisations locally to identify how youth social action might better be supported, such as developing a partnership with a local scouts association to develop projects based within health, or providing opportunities for local colleges to link with your service, such as providing manicures to patients;
  4. Or, maybe you have your own ideas on how young volunteers and social action can improve health outcomes or patient experience within your locality.

To sign-up to both the NHS70 and #iwill campaign please pledge here.

Benefits of pledging your support

Organisations that pledge their support to the campaign will:

  • Have the opportunity to showcase their organisation and developments around youth volunteering as part of the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations;
  • Be promoted via a social media campaign that will highlight the benefits of youth volunteering;
  • Have access to a resources and advice on developing volunteering opportunities;
  • Have the option to attend a series of webinars to support the development of youth volunteering.

During the next few months we will further develop the campaign and pull together a series of events to support organisations to develop their volunteering opportunities. 

To pledge your support, you don’t need a fully worked up plan as to how you will develop and roll-out volunteering across your organisation at this stage, but we will ask for some of your ideas of what you might do!  Pledging your support is easy.

Once you have pledged your support we would be grateful for any case studies, video clips or other resources that we can use to help raise awareness of the campaign to increase youth volunteering but also to showcase the work that you’re doing with others.

Use #NHS70 and #iwill when sharing your activities on social media.

A wide range of NHS70 supportive resources are available at #iwill including a template case study to profile a young person you work with, videos from Ruth May and Sir Bruce Keogh, and guidance for the Big Lunch – sparking conversations between young people and healthcare professionals.

If you have any questions, please email: england.nhs.participation@nhs.net.