Bright and enthusiastic young volunteers across the country have come together to work with Helpforce on developing national training standards.

The standards, which are being developed by the Helpforce team, will ensure volunteers can provide a safe and reliable service when working with staff, patients, and their families.

Volunteers from eight different NHS Trusts, aged between 16 – 24, were invited to a workshop in April where they were encouraged to share their insight and creative ideas to help develop a national certificate for volunteers.

The workshop was organised by Kay Fawcett OBE, Education Lead and Clinical Advisor, and Desiree Benson, Regional Lead for Helpforce.

Kay said:

“We were keen to engage with people on the ground that have experience of being prepared for a volunteering role. At the workshop, we asked them to review our ideas for the certificate and share their thoughts on how to make it more user-friendly for people of their age. Our next step is to review all feedback and enhance the standards with their help.”

Desiree explained:

“At Helpforce, we truly believe that young volunteers are potential candidates for the care workforce and therefore, it’s important to include them in the process of designing this national volunteer certificate. The workshop brought together young volunteer voices from a wide range of roles, experiences, and backgrounds. Their input will empower thousands of future young volunteers and in turn support NHS Trusts.”

Samantha Ashton, a 19-year-old volunteer at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I found the day to be such a great opportunity to have a say and speak about what you do as a volunteer and ways you would like to improve volunteering. It was enjoyable and it was lovely to meet other volunteers from different areas and share our experiences.

“Helpforce did the right thing speaking to volunteers because as a volunteer, I can share my experiences and know the ways that volunteering can be improved. Helpforce are receiving information from the volunteers themselves and ensuring that the training put in place is relevant. I really enjoyed engaging with Helpforce as well as the other volunteers because you get to hear different aspects.”