During the pandemic more health and social care services have engaged with volunteers than ever before. Our Framework for Volunteering in Health and Social Care takes a system wide approach, exploring how to effectively involve volunteers – whether in hospital, residential care or community settings.
CHARTER FOR VOLUNTEERING AND WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS
Helpforce Cymru worked with Wales TUC and others to produce this WCVA/Wales TUC charter. It sets out key principles for successful volunteering and positive workplace relationships.
The charter is commended for use by public, private and voluntary organisations and by trade unions to stimulate discussion and good practice regarding effective and mutually rewarding volunteer involvement.
Here’s what WCVA partners said about the charter and its use:
VOLUNTEER TO CAREER
Bevan Commission and Helpforce Cymru (WCVA) are working with Helpforce on a UK wide Volunteer to Career pilot project. This aims to impact on NHS workforce needs at local level through the design and development of ‘volunteer to career’ initiatives.
As well as responding to local workforce priorities, there is potential for projects to address inequalities of opportunity by targeting under-represented groups.
Volunteer standards for induction and training of volunteers in health and social care have been developed by Helpforce. There are learning resources to support these standards, including mandatory modules for those volunteering within NHS, resources from Social Care Wales and from Third Sector Support Wales.
The standards, with links to relevant learning resources, are available as a TSSW information sheet:
Volunteering in health and social care: standards and learning resources
VOLUNTEERING AND END OF LIFE CARE
Helpforce Cymru supported pilot projects with three Health Boards as part of a UK wide programme with Helpforce and Marie Curie, developing volunteer companion services to support patients who are nearing end of life.
We are also working with Age Cymru and Welsh Government to develop a model for volunteering in care homes. Seven care homes have been recruited to the pilot project. The primary focus has been on enabling contact between residents and their families, under the restrictions due to Covid 19.
Guidance, due to be published in February 2022, will support the development of volunteering more widely in care homes.
VOLUNTEERING FOR IMPACT ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
The difference made by volunteers may be obvious to those who work alongside or who benefit from what they do. But we often need to evidence their impact on patients /service users, staff, the system and on volunteers themselves, in order to prove the value of volunteering.
Helpforce supported pilot studies with NHS partners in order to evaluate the impact of volunteer roles. Several useful publications have been produced from this work:
Volunteering service guides have been developed for nine volunteer roles. The service guides share information and learning, considerations and benefits that will help others to adopt and adapt these innovations.
An Impact and Insight toolkit is available that will help you to DEFINE what your volunteering project will achieve, what it will solve and who will benefit; to DESIGN a service model; to COLLECT data to demonstrate the outcomes and provide insights that enable improvement; to ANALYSE the data to show how the project is delivering the anticipated impacts. Helpforce provides an end-to-end service which includes the website and a team of volunteering evaluation experts offering support.
ABOUT HELPFORCE CYMRU
Helpforce Cymru began in 2019 with support from Helpforce UK, the National Lottery Community Fund and Welsh Government.
It is now a collaboration of partners working to raise the profile and the strategic role of volunteering in health and social care.
Volunteers may be involved in the design and delivery of services, in improving service user experience and in creating more holistic and integrated approaches. They have a distinctive part to play in public services, without duplicating or displacing paid workers.
There is a strong tradition in Wales of mutual support and volunteering. Volunteering enhances social capital and community cohesion as well as citizen involvement in the delivery of health and social care services. It fosters individual wellbeing, social inclusion and skills for personal growth and for employment. As such it contributes to many of our national wellbeing goals.
During the Covid -19 pandemic we saw how different partners can work together and how volunteering can make a vital difference to the wellbeing of our communities. Helpforce Cymru will work to ensure that volunteering is recognised and resourced to contribute effectively to Wales Covid -19 recovery plan.