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It’s so sim­ple to join. So what are YOU wait­ing for?

- SIM­PLY GO ON­LINE TO hos­pi­tal­help­force.com TO JOIN TO­DAY Productivity · Society · Lifestyle · Career · Volunteering · Lifehacks · organization · United Kingdom · Health Care · Somerset House

THE Daily Mail and Help­force in­vite you to join our Christ­mas cam­paign by giv­ing as lit­tle as one day a month or three hours a week of your time as a vol­un­teer — for at least six months. Here, we ex­plain all you need to know . . .

WHY DOES THE NHS NEED VOL­UN­TEERS?

Vol­UN­TeerS can help pro­vide bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ences for pa­tients, and free up time for health­care work­ers to fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing the in­cred­i­ble work they’ve been trained to do.

And while there are thou­sands of vol­un­teers car­ry­ing out vi­tal work in the NHS, there is so much more we can do. That’s where the Join the Hos­pi­tal Help­force cam­paign comes in — the aim is to har­ness the power of ded­i­cated and car­ing vol­un­teers to cre­ate a more com­pas­sion­ate care sys­tem for all of us.

WHAT IS HELP­FORCE?

IT’S a char­ity that works with the NHS, health­care work­ers and the pub­lic to pro­mote the ben­e­fits of vol­un­teer­ing — help­ing to ex­pand the range and qual­ity of vol­un­teer roles and the num­ber of vol­un­teers in­volved in our NHS.

ARE VOL­UN­TEERS RE­PLAC­ING STAFF ROLES?

No — they pro­vide ex­tra help that wouldn’t be cov­ered by a staff role. NHS Trusts need vol­un­teers as they pro­vide a valu­able sup­port role to busy staff and to pa­tients who are go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time.

Vol­un­teers can make the dif­fer­ence to some­one’s day by pro­vid­ing sim­ple but sig­nif­i­cant sup­port. Many vol­un­teers en­joy it so much they take up em­ploy­ment in the NHS, help­ing to fill the health ser­vice’s 100,000 job va­can­cies.

WHAT’S THE MIN­I­MUM I HAVE TO COM­MIT TO?

Help­force is ask­ing peo­ple to com­mit to three con­sec­u­tive hours a week for six months, or one day a month for six months. NHS staff say that for vol­un­teers to make a dif­fer­ence, they need to com­mit to at least this time as this gives them con­ti­nu­ity and a re­li­able source of help. You can, of course, ask to do more hours and for a longer pe­riod of time.

DO I NEED PAR­TIC­U­LAR QUAL­I­FI­CA­TIONS?

No — NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions are look­ing for vol­un­teers who are will­ing to learn. While your ex­ist­ing skills will be use­ful, you will be pro­vided with train­ing. If you have any spe­cific skills, please note these on your pledge when you sign up.

IS THERE AN UP­PER OR LOWER AGE LIMIT?

Help­force hasn’t got a max­i­mum age as there are many ex­am­ples of older vol­un­teers do­ing great work.

The min­i­mum age is 16. How­ever, not all NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions are able to take vol­un­teers un­til the age of 18 due to their own poli­cies. If you are aged be­tween 16 and 18, Help­force will do its best to place you with a lo­cal NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion, but op­por­tu­ni­ties are more lim­ited. Youth groups #iwill and the pears foun­da­tion are to­gether aim­ing to in­crease the num­ber of vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple — visit for de­tails. iwill.org.uk

I HAVE MO­BIL­ITY IS­SUES, CAN I AP­PLY?

YeS. The NHS can ac­com­mo­date vol­un­teers with mo­bil­ity is­sues and/or long-term con­di­tions.

CAN I CHOOSE WHICH HOS­PI­TAL I WORK IN?

IN THe first in­stance, Help­force will try to match you with an NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion near to where you live. If your lo­cal NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion doesn’t have ca­pac­ity, Help­force can pass your de­tails to or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the royal Vol­un­tary Ser­vice, Marie curie and the Bri­tish red cross, as they bring vol­un­teers to work across many parts of the NHS. Some health trusts hold their own wait­ing lists and you could be added to those if you pre­fer.

AM I GUAR­AN­TEED A PLACE?

Help­force can’t guar­an­tee that ev­ery per­son who pledges will get a place, but will en­deav­our to place as many peo­ple with their lo­cal NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion as pos­si­ble. The ma­jor­ity of the vol­un­teer roles Help­force ex­pects to be filled through this cam­paign will take place in hospi­tals, but many vol­un­teers will be placed in com­mu­nity health­care set­tings to sup­port NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions.

ARE ALL THE UK HOSPI­TALS COV­ERED?

NoT all NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions are able to take vol­un­teers. Help­force will work with those that have vol­un­teer schemes and are re­cruit­ing.

IN­CLUD­ING SCOT­LAND, WALES & N. IRE­LAND?

YeS — Help­force is wel­com­ing vol­un­teers from across the UK.

HOW DO I SIGN UP?

VISIT hos­pi­tal­help­force.com and fill in the pledge form. once you’ve com­pleted it, you should hear back im­me­di­ately with a thankyou email, then again in late Jan­uary or early fe­bru­ary once Help­force has matched you with an NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion. If you don’t hear by the end of fe­bru­ary, please go to the fre­quently Asked Ques­tions sec­tion of the web­site.

WHAT TRAIN­ING WILL I GET?

TrAIN­INg varies be­tween NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions, but all of it will help keep you safe and give you the skills to make you feel con­fi­dent when vol­un­teer­ing on a busy ward with staff and pa­tients.

A train­ing ses­sion would typ­i­cally in­clude some or all of the fol­low­ing el­e­ments: health and safety, fire train­ing, equal­ity and diver­sity, safe­guard­ing, con­flict res­o­lu­tion, in­for­ma­tion gov­er­nance, in­fec­tion con­trol. Train­ing will vary de­pend­ing on the role you are tak­ing up.

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ME?

oNce you have been matched to an NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion, you will be asked to meet its vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor. They will want to find out about you, your ex­pe­ri­ence, in­ter­ests and mo­ti­va­tion to vol­un­teer. You will be asked to fill in an ap­pli­ca­tion form.

If you both agree that you want to pro­ceed, you will have sim­ple health and crim­i­nal record checks. These are called an oc­cu­pa­tional health check and a Dis­clo­sure and Bar­ring Ser­vice (DBS) check.

An oc­cu­pa­tional health check helps to en­sure vol­un­teers are safe and able to work in the health­care en­vi­ron­ment — it is usu­ally very sim­ple and straight­for­ward.

A DBS check en­ables em­ploy­ers to ac­cess the crim­i­nal records of cur­rent and po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees to con­firm whether they are suit­able to work with vul­ner­a­ble adults and chil­dren. It is a le­gal re­quire­ment and can take some time to com­plete.

You may also be re­quired to pro­vide a ref­er­ence. Your data will be fully pro­tected through­out.

ARE UNI­FORMS AND EX­PENSES PRO­VIDED?

Vol­UN­TeerS usu­ally wear T-shirts or uni­forms pro­vided by the NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion that iden­tify them as vol­un­teers. Help­force rec­om­mends you dis­cuss this with the vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor when you have been placed.

each NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion has its own ex­penses pol­icy. Again, this is some­thing to dis­cuss with the vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor.

HOW LONG WILL IT BE BE­FORE I START?

Help­force is keen that you start vol­un­teer­ing as soon as pos­si­ble, but the process may take sev­eral months. once the char­ity has put your NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion in touch with you, it can take up to three months, and in some cases six months, be­fore you start. This is mainly due to the time it takes to make the nec­es­sary checks and com­plete the rel­e­vant train­ing.

IS THERE A DEAD­LINE TO SIGN UP?

YoU can choose to vol­un­teer for the NHS at any time, but this cam­paign is be­ing sup­ported dur­ing De­cem­ber and will close at the start of Jan­uary.

If now isn’t a good time for you to vol­un­teer, you can get in touch with your lo­cal hos­pi­tal or other NHS or­gan­i­sa­tion at a later date. You can also look at vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at do-it.org.

WHAT IF I’M NOT ABLE TO GO ON­LINE?

DUe to the vol­ume of pledges that Help­force is ex­pect­ing to process, it is en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to make con­tact through the on­line form.

If you are hav­ing prob­lems with that, per­haps you can seek as­sis­tance from a friend or rel­a­tive?

WHO DO I CON­TACT IF I HAVE QUES­TIONS?

pleASe go to the fre­quently Asked Ques­tions web page ( hos­pi­tal­help­force.com/faqs). The ‘speech bub­ble’ icon will take you to one of Help­force’s am­bas­sadors who will be happy to help.

CAN I GIVE ANY­THING OTHER THAN TIME?

YoU can donate to Help­force — the char­ity will use all the money raised to help sup­port hospi­tals in the cre­ation of new vol­un­teer­ing roles, and bring more vol­un­teers to their wards.

There are two ways you can donate: via the donate but­ton at

hos­pi­tal­help­force.com, or by send­ing a cheque. please make it payable to Help­force com­mu­nity Trust, and post it to: Help­force S90, South Wing, Som­er­set House, The Strand, lon­don Wc2r 1lA.

 ??  ?? Do­ing his bit: Max Whit­field, 18, with Nor­man Gooldring, 67 at Frim­ley Park Hos­pi­tal
Do­ing his bit: Max Whit­field, 18, with Nor­man Gooldring, 67 at Frim­ley Park Hos­pi­tal
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