Volunteering in London? We share our experience as an NHS patient volunteer programme. So all that preparation now is the time to Go, Go, Go! We found these key success factors when we did our programme:
Make sure you set a date to go live and promote this with patients and staff. Make it easy for patients to ask for help and match patient needs with volunteer skills. The NHS is a great place to volunteer. Volunteering in london is fab. Enjoy it!
How to deliver NHS Volunteer programme
- Structure for volunteers.
Set a clear structure for volunteers, both in terms of tasks and time commitment – e.g. have time slots when they will do certain activities
- Inform staff.
Ensure medical staff are aware of volunteers and how/when they can offer support to be able to refer and inform patients; e.g. send biweekly reminders on the service and its “opening hours”.
Ensure you advertise and deliver the service is in a way that is appropriate for the target population. For example, partner with community organisations who are in contact with shielded patients; decide whether online, phone or face-to-face delivery is best suited to the problem.
Volunteering in London can be expensive to travel. Think about any help you can offer for transport.
Define communication channels that work for the group of volunteers – in this case, WhatsApp worked well to advertise new volunteering opportunities and get quick responses.
- When there’s not much to do.
Have a plan to manage times of low demand – e.g. having more than one project for volunteers, backup activities (e.g. training), and communications to keep them posted on the current situation and potential future opportunities.
- Match the interests and skills of volunteers.
Map volunteers’ skills and interests to match them to different activities and practice needs. This creates a flexible and diverse pool of volunteers, allowing the practice to better meet its needs. Matching volunteer interests with tasks increases their motivation; e.g. someone with IT skills could be suited to provide digital support. Volunteers with more time available could help manage some of the volunteering activities, relieving some of the local resources.
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