A new scheme has been launched that aims to double the number of volunteers working in the NHS by 2021.
HelpForce has been set up by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett as a Community Interest Company. It aims to “accelerate improvements in the involvement of volunteers in the NHS”. By 2021 it aims to double the 78,000 volunteers currently working in NHS trusts to 156,000.
Helpforce will be launching a five-year fundraising campaign in January to raise £5m. It will work with 12 Acute NHS Hospital Trusts to develop new volunteer roles and create a best practice model for volunteering in hospitals and other patient settings.
It has received support from organisations including Royal Voluntary Service, British Red Cross, Step up to Serve, NHS England, Health Education England and Deloitte.
HelpForce is starting with a focus on critical moments in hospitals where staff and patients would benefit from additional support, for example at meal times or discharge from hospital. It is also prioritising volunteer help for patients who do not have their own family or wider support network