Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is inviting staff and members of the public to attend its bi-monthly Public Board meeting online, on Thursday 9 September 2021 from 9.00am-12.30pm.

Those who attend will hear about a new volunteering strategy to be considered by the Trust Board that sets out plans to expand and develop the Trust’s volunteering service over the next three years to enhance its offer and support for Trust staff, their patients and the wider community.

The volunteer service’s vision is to increase new and existing volunteering opportunities across the Trust and it aims to help individual volunteers and the organisation to realise the full positive impact of volunteering.

In the three years since the first volunteering strategy was launched in 2018,143 volunteers have signed up across 15 services within the Care Trust. The difference such volunteering makes to NHS patients and staff is emphasised nationally by NHS England and Improvement, who say they are a critical part of many trust workforces.

People from across the community, from students to people who have used Trust services, have signed up to volunteer for the Care Trust across the five areas which make up its volunteering service. These include the main volunteer service which offers the general public care-enhancing roles, the therapeutic and recovery volunteer programme which enables former and current patients who receive care in its mental health hospitals to support patients, the NHS cadets that support 14-18 year-olds to volunteer in the NHS, and the volunteer-to-career service for those looking to start a career in healthcare.

The fifth area is the Trust’s Champions Show the Way service which organises a range of activities such as coffee mornings, local walks and singing groups for members of the community with long term health conditions. It is entirely run by volunteers, with on average 150 volunteers who hold around 70 health and wellbeing activities in the community across Bradford and Craven every week.

The Trust hopes the new strategy will further the work in each of these areas and encourage more local people to sign up to volunteer.

One Champions Show the Way volunteer said: “You can see the benefits and the increase in wellbeing of the individuals that are attending the Relaxation Group. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and happiness that I can help individuals with their health issues. Delivering these sessions makes it feel worthwhile and motivates me to do more.”

Paul Hogg, Associate Director of Corporate Affairs and lead Director for Volunteering across the Trust, said: “COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the role of volunteers across health and social care, with many organisations now recognising the importance and impact of volunteering. It is not seen as a ‘bolt-on’ or ‘nice to have’ but an integral part of supporting staff, patients and carers.

Paul Hogg, Associate Director of Corporate Affairs and Lead Director for Volunteering

Paul Hogg, Associate Director of Corporate Affairs and Lead Director for Volunteering

“In developing the different strands of this strategy our staff have been overwhelmingly positive about volunteering and how we can help integrate this work into strategic planning at the Trust. We also recognise that individuals can gain a great deal from volunteering, developing the confidence and skills to take on new opportunities, provide fresh perspectives and perhaps even pursue a career in healthcare.

“We look forward to developing opportunities for our existing volunteers and welcoming new ones to support the vital work of the Trust.”

During the meeting, the Board will also discuss upcoming priorities, the chief executive’s monthly report and the monthly performance report. 

Anyone interested in joining virtually on Thursday 9 September 2021 should contact the Trust’s Foundation Office on FT@bdct.nhs.uk or 01274 363544.