The project – jointly funded by the Office of the Third Sector and the Department of Health’s Care Services Improvement Partnership – will see development officers working with a select group of hospitals to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and encourage volunteers from a more diverse range of backgrounds, especially young people and socially excluded groups.
It will also provide small grants totalling £75,000 to voluntary groups working in hospitals to recruit such volunteers.
The scheme, which also aims to spread information about how volunteering can complement work already done by NHS staff, will be delivered by Time for Health, a group of large healthcare-providing volunteering organisations including Timebank, WRVS and Attend.
Miliband said: “I’ve had the privilege of meeting volunteers in the NHS who have found the experience rewarding and valuable. This program aims to offer the opportunity to a more diverse range of individuals and improve the volunteering experience.”
Ivan Lewis is today introducing Time for Health’s debate on the need for volunteering in health. He said: “The debate is an important opportunity to improve the understanding of the essential role that volunteers play in the NHS.”