We are delighted to be supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with the launch of a £1.1 million fund to support high quality volunteering opportunities for young people in the NHS.
The Volunteering Futures Fund aims to make volunteering opportunities more accessible to a more diverse range of people, with a strong focus on those experiencing loneliness, those with disabilities, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
We will be awarding grants to NHS charities with experience of delivering youth volunteering projects, with a focus on those who experience barriers to volunteering and activities across the digital, culture, media and sport sectors.
Examples of possible projects include supporting the ongoing maintenance of hospital green spaces, digital inclusion activities with older patients, and engaging with storytelling with dementia patients.
Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said:
“Volunteering is the lifeblood of our communities and has really important personal benefits too, from meeting new people to improving your mental health. This fund offers a much-needed boost to help young people from all backgrounds access life-changing volunteering opportunities, and we’re excited to be part of it.
“We support a network of 240 NHS Charities across the UK – many of which have unparalleled expertise in delivering youth volunteering schemes – and we look forward to working with them to get these funds to where they are needed most, and can have the greatest impact. This includes increased support for our NHS workforce, as they face their most challenging winter ever.”
The funding forms part of a £7 million fund launched by The DCMS and administered by Arts Council England, as well as match funders NHS Charities Together and Pears Foundation, for organisations to help more people access volunteering opportunities across a range of sectors.
Not only are dedicated volunteers vital in order to deliver a variety of services, including supporting hardworking NHS staff, the benefits of volunteering are undeniable, such as building new skills, improving mental well-being and opportunities to connect with new people.
Minister for Civil Society, Nigel Huddleston, said:
“Making volunteering opportunities accessible to all is a critical step towards levelling up this country.
“There are so many benefits to volunteering which should be available to all, such as improving mental health, learning new skills and becoming part of a community.”
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With the NHS facing their most challenging winter ever, NHS Charities Together needs to continue to be there for the people of the NHS, which is why we need your support to continue funding this vital work.
Working alongside a network of NHS charities across the UK to develop vital partnerships with the wider voluntary health sector, we can help to ease pressures on hardworking NHS staff and improve the health and wellness of the nation.