Making Volunteering More Accessible for Young People from Under-Represented Groups

On 7th June 2023
Categories: 2023

Over the last year, we have partnered with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people who experience barriers to volunteering with the Volunteering Futures Fund (VFF), which has provided opportunities to build their skills, wellbeing and social networks.

You can read more about the fund’s launch here.

Over £1.6million was granted to 14 NHS charities so that they could provide youth volunteering projects in their local communities, with activities including work shadowing, supporting hospital services and providing digital support. Through the programme, these charities have reached over 2,000 volunteers under the age of 26. Individuals from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds were involved and a large proportion (84%) of young volunteers lived in the 50% most deprived local authorities.1

Not only have the young volunteers gained new skills and experience to support their education and employability, but many are considering and even working towards careers in the NHS, with 80% of volunteers suggesting they were more interested in pursuing a health care career path and some already progressing on to further education and careers in the sector.2

Read on to find out more about some of these amazing projects.

The Dudley Group NHS Charity

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust Young People Volunteering Programme is supported by Dudley Group Charity and has used funding from the VFF to expand their existing student volunteering programme by training ten of their existing volunteers as mentors and best practice assessors.

These individuals have gone on to help over 200 new young volunteers who had previously found it hard to get into volunteering by taking on a range of roles that support different services within the Trust, including the emergency department, patient experience, and administration.

Talking about their experiences and what they hope to gain from the programme, youth volunteers Hirah, Ellis and Charlie said:

“I wanted to get some volunteering experience as I want to apply to study medicine at university and this sort of experience will really help me.”

“I’m hoping to gain lots of hospital experience to go toward my future career as I want to go into mental health nursing.”

“As a future career I want to go into nursing, so volunteering in a hospital and seeing people working on the wards has helped me understand how people do their jobs.”

Minister for Civil Society and Youth Stuart Andrew said:

“The benefits of volunteering are well documented and I am delighted this Government investment is helping NHS Trusts provide more opportunities for young people.

“This Volunteers’ Week, I would urge everyone to celebrate the spirit of volunteering and to say ‘thank you’ to those helping out in your local NHS Trust.”

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust Charities (Your Trust Charity)

The Youth Volunteering Champions (YVC) project from Sandwell and West Birmingham (SWBH) Hospitals NHS Trust Charities (Your Trust Charity) has provided internship opportunities for young people, supporting individuals in health and social care for 16 hours per week.

Talking about their internships, students Jack, Jennifer, Phoebe and Samirah said:

“I have achieved a lot in my last 2 months of my placement, I have gained confidence in Customer Service, learning about priorities dealing with patient questions, or any other queries.”

“Overall, volunteering at the SWBH Bereavement Service has helped me to gain a new perspective on life as I feel that there is no better way to understand the values of helping people.”

“Being on the programme has made me realise how much I would love to work in the NHS and that is my dream.”

“I have made some extremely useful and detailed notes throughout my placement which I am sure will be valuable for my personal statement.”

University College London Hospitals Charity

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Charity have been partners with Breadwinners, a grassroots charity supporting young refugees and people seeking asylum into work through selling bread, since 2019.

The additional funding has allowed them to continue this partnership and engage around 50 young people by providing opportunities to shadow existing volunteers and learn about the hospital environment.

Feedback from some of the taster session participants and volunteers includes:

“In my home country I was training to be a nurse. The {taster session} let me see the NHS hospitals and I would like to continue to be a nurse here after college.”

“Everything is new for me in this country, and I want to learn and be part of my new community. I wanted to volunteer to help this and meet people.”

Read more about the VFF and the other projects it supported in our latest report, linked below.

1Of 539 pre-survey respondents, 44% were from Asian or Asian British ethnic groups, 24% were from White ethnic groups, 16% were from Black, Black British, Caribbean or African ethnic groups, 9% were from Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups, and 5% were from Other ethnic groups. 14 volunteers did not provide their ethnicity. 451 of 539 volunteer pre-survey respondents (84%) lived within the 50% most deprived local authorities in the UK. 

2N=189 of 235 post-survey responded agreed or strongly agreed that their volunteering has increased their interest in a health and care job in the future. 

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