by Emma Easton, Head of Voluntary Partnerships NHS England and NHS Improvement

One of the commitments within the NHS Long Term Plan is to establish programmes of work which will give greater access to volunteering opportunities for younger people.

On 27 June 2019 NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Voluntary Partnership Team facilitated an initial workshop with young people and a wide range of partners, including #iwill, to develop a volunteering programme aimed at young people aged 14+.

The proposal is to support the development of a programme, which aims to:

    1. Deliver life skills through first aid and mental health first aid training and other role-appropriate training.
    2. Inspire future generations to consider careers in health and care
    3. Support young people to learn about health and care needs and different NHS services available
    4. Provide access to social action and volunteering opportunities within health and care
    5. Focus on developing the skills of young people in areas of deprivation

There is still a lot of detail to be worked up about how this programme could work in practice, for example: target audience/social action opportunities/skills, experience and opportunities developed as a result of this programme and how it will connect to other networks and partners that are delivering excellent volunteering programmes already.

Key highlights from the discussions at the workshop included:

  • An emphasis on good quality volunteering opportunities that led to other opportunities
  • Ensuring we reach those that may not have the opportunity to volunteer, often those that are seen as ‘hard to reach’
  • Ensuring we link with other volunteering schemes currently happening across the NHS so that we enhance and not duplicate

Over the next few months #iwill will be working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop this proposal further.  For more information about this programme or to get involved, please contact:  sara.latham2@nhs.net

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You can read more about the work of #iwill campaign partners in empowering young people in health & social care in our impact report.

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