5 June 2007
Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, and Ivan Lewis, Health Minister, today launched a £265,000 scheme to open NHS volunteering to a wider range of volunteers by getting under–represented groups involved – especially young people and those at risk of social exclusion.
The new Volunteering in Health project – jointly funded by the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office (£200,000) and the Care Services Improvement Partnership (£65,000) – aims to encourage volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds, raise the profile of volunteering opportunities in the NHS, and spread best practice by highlighting where volunteering already successfully complements the work of NHS staff.
The scheme will be delivered by Time for Health, an initiative founded in June 2006 between the largest volunteering organisations in health to provide a representative voice for volunteering in the NHS.
Ed Miliband, Minister for the Third Sector, said:
“I've had the privilege of meeting volunteers in the NHS who have found the experience rewarding and valuable. This programme aims to offer this opportunity to a more diverse range of individuals – particularly those who could stand to benefit most, including young people and those at risk of social exclusion.”
There are three strands to the scheme:
The Volunteering in Health project is part of the Government's larger Volunteering for All programme, which aims to tackle barriers to volunteering and increase numbers of volunteers from social excluded groups.
Ivan Lewis, Health Minister, is today introducing Time for Health's Audrey Emerton debate on volunteering in health as part of Volunteering For All. He said:
“Every day thousands of volunteers, supported by the relentless work of organisations across the country, bring a passion and dedication to healthcare that enhances patient care and helps develop services matching the needs of local communities. As with all health services, it is crucial that volunteers maintain the highest standards. The training and best practice that ‘Volunteering in Health’ is to provide will help maintain standards and, importantly, improve the experience that volunteers have.”
The debate is an important opportunity to improve the understanding of the essential role that volunteers play in the NHS. It forms part of Time for Health's overall aim to increase learning that will build a strong future for volunteering in health and social care.
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