For so many organisations volunteers are the backbone of their work and the extraordinary volunteer response throughout the pandemic has only served to emphasise this at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH).
The League of Friends (LoF) at the Oswestry-based hospital is delighted to further develop their volunteering infrastructure thanks to a grant from the Volunteering Futures Fund.
In 2021, the Government launched the Volunteering Futures Fund from NHS Charities Together and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which aims to boost volunteering across a raft of sectors and offer high-quality opportunities to those experiencing barriers to volunteering – as well as tap into a growing interest from the public amid the health crisis to support good causes.
In recognition of the barriers some people face to volunteering, the Volunteering Futures Fund will target underrepresented groups including communities facing socio-economic disadvantages, people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and disabled young people. These new projects will help further develop crucial skills like team working and problem-solving, increase confidence and self-esteem, and build relationships and social networks.
Sara Ellis-Anderson, Interim Chief Nurse and Patient Safety Officer, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to develop our Voluntary Services further at RJAH.
“Volunteers have played an integral part in supporting the hospital throughout the response to Covid-19 and this additional funding will enable us to build on that response.”
Heather Thomas-Bache, LoF Head of Volunteers, said: “Volunteering has a huge range of benefits, from improving your mental and physical health to learning new skills, boosting your self-confidence and improving your career options.
“We’re very pleased that this project will enable us to remove barriers to recruitment and open up these opportunities to a more diverse range of young people.”
Keith Fraser, LoF Trustee and Chair of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, said: “I am passionate about ensuring that every young person is given the opportunity to be themselves and flourish – I think this is a fantastic scheme offering a huge range of benefits to young people.”
Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “As the national, independent charity caring for the NHS, we are delighted to partner with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Arts Council England and Pears Foundation, and together roll out the Volunteering Futures Fund.
“As part of our commitment to tackle community inequalities, we believe the Volunteering Futures Fund will provide important, life-changing opportunities for young people from all backgrounds who are currently facing barriers to volunteering. We’re excited to be a part of it and see the difference it can make not only to those involved, but to the volunteering landscape overall.”
NHS Charities Together is one of three delivery partners, along with Arts Council England and Pears Foundation. In total, DCMS is investing £6.25 million in the Volunteering Futures Fund – with additional funding from NHS Charities Together and Pears Foundation bringing the total to over £7.4 million. Arts Council England will announce its grant awards later this year.
For further information and for the full list of available roles, please visit the dedicated website: www.futurefriendsrjah.org.uk