HelpForce, which is working to double the number of volunteers working in the NHS by 2021, will receive £2.3m in funding from NHS England to help it expand the number of trusts it is working with.
HelpForce and NHS England have announced a new programme to increase innovative volunteering in the NHS. The programme will build on HelpForce’s existing work with 15 NHS trusts, five of which already have taken advantage of prior NHS England funding to develop a range of new volunteer services.
HelpForce, which was set up by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett as a Community Interest Company, will increase the number of trusts it is partnering with “in order to develop and spread impactful volunteer services”.
It says it aims to identify 10 volunteering initiatives from across the country that have the potential to be scaled up and adopted across the NHS.
The selected trusts will receive a share of the grant of up to £750,000 and support through HelpForce and its NHS and voluntary sector partners to a range of services, digital tools, resources and tailored guidance. Initial expressions of interest need to be submitted via the HelpForce website by 8 October 2018.
The announcement was made by Sir Malcolm Grant, chair of NHS England, at the NHS England AGM as part of a wider grant to HelpForce.
A third of the funding will go directly to the 10 NHS hospital trusts, with the remainder used to build new infrastructure that will help increase the quality and scale of volunteering across the NHS.
This will include developing an evidence-based model for implementing and measuring the impact of volunteer services, and extending a nationwide, peer-to-peer learning network for sharing best practice.
Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder and chair of HelpForce, said: “We are delighted to be able to expand the number of trusts we are working with as it will enable more people to benefit from the helping hand of volunteers on their journey through hospital.
“We have been working closely with a small group of pioneering NHS trusts and a range of voluntary sector partners such as The Royal Voluntary Society over the last year and we are pleased to be able to include other leaders. We know there are inspiring examples of volunteering already taking place and want to learn from these as well as helping to scale them locally, regionally and nationally.”