Moorfields and Friends of Moorfields join national programme to maximise the positive impact of volunteers

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with The Friends of Moorfields has secured a £75,000 to expand their volunteer programme.

The grant is from Healthforce and forms part of its new Volunteering Innovators Programme which identifies the most promising volunteering initiatives from across the country that can be spread to other NHS settings.

The Friends of Moorfields is responsible for managing the trust’s volunteer programme which is currently made up of 213 volunteers who provide 843 hours each week.  This grant will help Friends expand its volunteer programme and focus on volunteers providing emotional support to patients in theatres and injection clinics.

The volunteers will undergo specialist training on how to support patients during surgery under local anaesthetic. They will comfort and reassure patients before surgery, during their operation and their recovery.

Moorfields Eye Hospital and Friends of Moorfields were chosen following a competitive process which saw Helpforce receive 115 applications from 90 trusts.

Tracy Luckett, director of nursing and allied health professions at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:
“We’re delighted to have supported Friends of Moorfields in successfully securing this grant and we’re looking forward to help introduce the expanded volunteer programme which we’re confident will greatly help our patients.”

Angela Smith, chief executive officer for Friends of Moorfields, said:
“We’re extremely proud to manage Moorfields’ volunteer programme, which plays a vital role in ensuring that patients and their families have the best possible support during their visits.  This grant will help us to build on the existing 200+-person strong volunteer network and it means we can provide an even more tailored and specialised support service.”

As part of Helpforce’s work with 12 new NHS hospital trusts, 10 will be funded by NHS England and two by the Royal Voluntary Service. The 10 funded by the NHS England grant will each receive a £75,000 grant, and all 12 will have access to a range of supporting services, digital tools, resources and guidance.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of HelpForce, said:
“We are excited about working with Moorfields Eye Hospital and Friends of Moorfields as part of our new Volunteering Innovators Programme, which will give us the opportunity to scale and share the most inspiring and effective volunteering initiatives.”

Paddy Hanrahan, Managing Director of Helpforce, added:
“We received a huge number of applications from trusts wanting to become part of our new programme, which is testament to the enthusiasm for the development of effective volunteer roles. Working closely with leading trusts, voluntary sector partners and NHS England, we can create a future where safe and reliable volunteering in the NHS is part of our everyday lives, helping patients and our brilliant frontline staff to get the very best from the health service.”

The Volunteering Innovators Programme launches alongside the publication of new Helpforce findings showing the positive impact that volunteers can make for patients and staff, following an evaluation of the organisation’s work with five trusts that have been testing volunteer roles since 2017. The findings include showing how volunteers can free up time for NHS staff to focus on their core roles, support vulnerable patients at mealtimes, and how they can assist with the patient discharge process.

About Helpforce
Helpforce is working with hospitals, healthcare workers and the public to create the future of volunteering in the NHS. It wants to see a recognisable improvement in the range and quality of volunteer roles available to support patient care in hospital and at home. Visit the website: https://www.helpforce.community/

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