Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Volunteering in health and care

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New figures released mid February show a sharp rise in volunteering and that people are actively coming together to drive improvements in their communities. Re official statistics published by the Cabinet Office in a new Community Life Survey show that the proportion of people volunteering at least once a year has risen from 65% in 2010-2011 to 71% in 2012 with an even bigger increase in the proportion of people volunteering regularly. This equates to millions more people volunteering across the country. Also nearly half want to be more involved in local decisions, a significant increase from 2010.

All this augurs well for our cancer support project as we move up a gear and begin to recruit new volunteers. The full report can be accessed here…..  http://communitylife.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

A new Kings Fund Report: Volunteering in health and care considers the role and value of volunteers in health and social care. It looks at the important part that volunteers play in improving patient experience, addressing health inequalities, and building a closer relationship between services and communities.

Key findings

  • Around three million people volunteer in health and social care, making an important contribution to people’s experience of care.
  • Innovative forms of volunteering are reaching out to new communities and engaging people in service delivery in new ways.
  • In some hospitals, volunteers are increasingly being seen as an integral part of the care team rather than an ‘add on’.
  • Too many organisations currently lack a strategic vision for the role of volunteering within their workforce, and so miss the opportunities that exist.
  • The reforms introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 offer new opportunities for volunteering but also some significant challenges.
  • The economic situation is creating a challenging environment for volunteering and raising concerns about job substitution.

It is a source of satisfaction that both reports acknowledge the valuable contribution volunteers can  make in health and social care something we hope to continue to develop with our advocacy cancer support project. The full report can be found here http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/volunteering-health-and-care

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Author: kathparson

Chief Executive of Older People's Advocacy Alliance (UK)

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