North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust joins new national programme to maximise the positive impact of volunteers

Helpforce, the organisation working with hospitals to enhance the benefits of volunteering across the NHS, will today announce that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust has joined its new Volunteering Innovators Programme to identify the most promising volunteering initiatives from across the country that can be spread to other NHS settings.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust has been chosen as one of the 12 hospital trusts that Helpforce will work with over the next 18 months to develop volunteer innovations that will be refined and shared to help other trusts in the UK adopt effective volunteer services.

The volunteer initiatives at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust have been identified as having the potential to make a major impact to benefit staff and patients.

For the Trust, the focus will be upon support with patient discharge, as well as the innovative ‘Home to Hospital’ initiative and transport services.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust was selected following a competitive process which saw Helpforce receive 115 applications from 90 trusts.

Paul Wharton, Volunteer Coordinator for the Trust commented on the virtues of being a part of the programme:

“Our Trust is delighted to have been selected for this programme, we feel that this will assist in supporting the very best of volunteers in the North East, specifically in North Tees and Hartlepool. We have a fantastic workforce of volunteers who are revered within our Trust for their work. This programme will enhance and build upon the sterling work to date.”

As part of Helpforce’s work with 12 new NHS hospital trusts, 10 will be funded by NHS England and two by the Royal Voluntary Service. The 10 funded by the NHS England grant will each receive a £75,000 grant, and all 12 will have access to a range of supporting services, digital tools, resources and guidance.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of HelpForce, said: 

“We are excited about working with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust as part of our new Volunteering Innovators Programme, which will give us the opportunity to scale and share the most inspiring and effective volunteering initiatives.”

Paddy Hanrahan, Managing Director of Helpforce, added:

“We received a huge number of applications from trusts wanting to become part of our new programme, which is testament to the enthusiasm for the development of effective volunteer roles. Working closely with leading trusts, voluntary sector partners and NHS England, we can create a future where safe and reliable volunteering in the NHS is part of our everyday lives, helping patients and our brilliant frontline staff to get the very best from the health service.”

The Volunteering Innovators Programme launches alongside the publication of new Helpforce findings showing the positive impact that volunteers can make for patients and staff, following an evaluation of the organisation’s work with five trusts that have been testing volunteer roles since 2017. The findings include showing how volunteers can free up time for NHS staff to focus on their core roles, support vulnerable patients at mealtimes, and how they can assist with the patient discharge process.

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