The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has launched a new scheme designed to promote volunteering in care homes.
The scheme, which is backed by £540,000 of funding from the Department of Health and will run until March 2016, will identify good practice in volunteering in care homes and support care home providers in managing their own volunteering programmes.
It is being run in conjunction with five clinical commissioning groups and five volunteer centres in those areas. An initial group of 10 local care homes are also taking part.
The volunteer centres, covering areas including Oldham in Lancashire, South Derbyshire and Westminster, London, will highlight the volunteering opportunities in the participating care homes to local people.
Some of the homes have said they would like to see volunteers help their residents to volunteer, for example by enabling them to share their personal stories in local schools.
Lessons learned from the programme will be used to help promote and develop good practice for volunteering in the care home sector, the NCVO said.
Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development at the NCVO, said volunteers could help to improve the lives of care home residents.
"The care and support white paper rightly recognises that developing closer connections with their local communities through volunteering leads to better care homes with happier and more supported residents," he said.
"Expert volunteer centres will be sharing their experience in order to establish good practice in the involvement of volunteers and give care homes the skills they need to recruit and support volunteers effectively themselves."