PM hails Mail cam­paign af­ter 1,000 read­ers vol­un­teer EV­ERY DAY to help the NHS

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By So­phie Bor­land and Jack Doyle

AN in­cred­i­ble 30,000 Daily Mail read­ers have signed up to our hos­pi­tal vol­un­teer cam­paign in just 30 days.

Your fan­tas­tic re­sponse means the NHS’s vol­un­teer army will be boosted by over a third when place­ments be­gin in the spring.

With an av­er­age of 1,000 new pledges ev­ery day, the cam­paign was hailed by Theresa May yes­ter­day as an ‘over­whelm­ing suc­cess’. But read­ers have only a few hours left to sign up as the dead­line passes at mid­night tonight. The Mail launched the cam­paign with the char­ity Help­force on De­cem­ber 1 and the re­sponse was over­whelm­ing from the out­set. The 30,000th reader signed up last night. It means our vol­un­teers have pledged a com­bined to­tal of 1,694,700 hours’ sup­port.

Pre­vi­ously there were an es­ti­mated 78,000 vol­un­teers work­ing in var­i­ous hos­pi­tals and NHS or­gan­i­sa­tions. The Mail’s cam­paign has been en­dorsed by dozens of pub­lic fig­ures and celebri­ties, in­clud­ing the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Corn­wall, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury and Harry Pot­ter au­thor J K Rowl­ing.

Yes­ter­day the Prime Min­is­ter de­scribed the read­ers’ re­sponse as ‘re­ally heart­en­ing’.

Mrs May added: ‘As a di­rect re­sult of the Mail’s ap­peal, the NHS now has 30,000 ex­tra vol­un­teers, in­creas­ing the vol­un­teer work­force by a third.’

Si­mon Stevens, head of NHS Eng­land, said the re­sponse was ‘a ma­jor boost for staff and pa­tients’.

THERESA May has thanked the tens of thou­sands of Daily Mail read­ers who have signed up to be­come NHS vol­un­teers.

The Prime Min­is­ter praised the ‘over­whelm­ing suc­cess’ of this news­pa­per’s cam­paign and said the pub­lic re­sponse had been ‘re­ally heart­en­ing’.

By 9pm yes­ter­day, the num­ber of peo­ple who had reg­is­tered to vol­un­teer had reached 30,000.

Read­ers only have a few hours left to sign up, as the cam­paign closes to­day at mid­night.

The head of NHS Eng­land, Si­mon Stevens, and Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock also paid tribute to the ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sponse over the last four weeks.

Pre­vi­ously, there had been an es­ti­mated 78,000 vol­un­teers in the health ser­vice. How­ever, the Mail’s cam­paign, in part­ner­ship with the char­ity Help­force, will in­crease that num­ber by a third.

Vol­un­teer roles in­clude sup­port­ing de­men­tia pa­tients, help­ing stroke vic­tims exer- cise, en­ter­tain­ing sick children and de­liv­er­ing blood sup­plies on mo­tor­bikes.

Mrs May said: ‘ Our NHS is part of the so­cial fab­ric of this coun­try – some­thing that we all rely upon for help and care in both the best and most dif­fi­cult times of our lives.

‘And as the ser­vice treats more pa­tients and of­fers more ad­vanced care than ever, the over­whelm­ing suc­cess of the Daily Mail’s cam­paign to en­cour­age more vol­un­teers is re­ally heart­en­ing.

‘Some­thing as sim­ple as hav­ing a cup of tea and a chat with some­one re­cov­er­ing from an op­er­a­tion can make a big dif­fer­ence, and it’s those small but cru­cial things that will hap­pen far more of­ten all over the coun­try in fu­ture. It’s some­thing your read­ers can be very proud of – and it’s a tribute to every­one who has pledged to give up their time for a no­ble cause.’

The Mail launched the Christ­mas cam­paign in part­ner­ship with Help­force on De­cem­ber 1, with some 7,000 read­ers sign­ing up in the first 48 hours.

That num­ber now stands at 30,000, with a com­bined to­tal of 1,694,700 hours pledged.

This in­cludes 17,075 peo­ple who have pledged three hours a week, and 12,925 who have signed up for one day a month.

Al­though this is the last chance to join our cam­paign, read­ers can still be­come NHS vol­un­teers if they miss the dead­line.

They can reg­is­ter in­ter­est on the Help­force web­site or con­tact their lo­cal hos­pi­tal or health trust about vol­un­teer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Mr Stevens, chief ex­ec­u­tive of NHS Eng­land, said: ‘As we pre­pare to pub­lish the NHS Long Term Plan, which will de­liver real im­prove­ments in care over the next decade, the gen­er­ous re­sponse from Mail read­ers… is a ma­jor boost for staff and pa­tients.’

Next month NHS Eng­land will prom­ise to dou­ble its vol­un­teer army to 156,000 in three years as part of its Long Term Plan.

This is in recog­ni­tion of the huge ben­e­fits vol­un­teer­ing brings to both pa­tients and helpers. Mr Han­cock said: ‘It is won­der­ful to see peo­ple from all walks of life giv­ing up their time to help sup­port staff, sup­port pa­tients and sup­port our NHS. I pay tribute to the Daily Mail and to Help­force for a hugely suc­cess­ful cam­paign – it has been truly in­spi­ra­tional.’

‘Boosts vol­un­tary work­force by a third’

ON the first day of this month, the Mail launched a Christ­mas cam­paign with a twist. Rather than im­plor­ing read­ers to do­nate hard-earned money to char­ity, we ap­pealed for a gift that is in many ways more valu­able than pounds and pence.

We asked you to sign up as NHS vol­un­teers and ded­i­cate some of your pre­cious time to com­fort­ing sick and in­jured pa­tients.

We ac­cepted it was am­bi­tious – the de­mands of work and look­ing af­ter fam­i­lies of­ten leave lit­tle time for char­i­ta­ble work.

But we never doubted you. And, as so of­ten in the past, you re­sponded mag­nif­i­cently.

To­day, as the cam­paign en­ters its fi­nal hours, a stag­ger­ing 30,000 read­ers have agreed to vol­un­teer with help-force, pledg­ing nearly 1.7mil­lion hours.

Those small acts of kind­ness – de­liv­er­ing meals, fetch­ing pre­scrip­tions, or even just of­fer­ing a hand of friend­ship – will make a world of dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives.

As well as bring­ing hap­pi­ness to fel­low hu­man be­ings at their most vul­ner­a­ble, vol­un­teers also ease the pres­sure on over­bur­dened health pro­fes­sion­als. But please don’t just take our word for it. In these pages, Theresa May pays tribute to you: ‘Some­thing as sim­ple as hav­ing a cup of tea and a chat with some­one re­cov­er­ing from an op­er­a­tion can make a big dif­fer­ence… those small but cru­cial things will hap­pen far more of­ten all over the coun­try in fu­ture.’ We couldn’t have put it bet­ter! Make no mis­take, your un­fail­ing gen­eros­ity means this cam­paign has the po­ten­tial to trans­form the NHS.

And even though the dead­line to sign up ends at mid­night to­day, this re­ally is just the be­gin­ning.

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