£6 million to support big society in health and social care

Published on Wednesday, 01 June 2011 09:35
Posted by Matthew Abbott

The Department of Health Volunteering Fund National Awards were announced today (June 1st), the first day of Volunteering Week. Through this scheme, the Department has committed to delivering £6m to support volunteering projects in health and social care.

The fund will be divided between thirteen organisations over three years. Each charity was selected for excellence in one of the following criteria:
Patient-Led NHS;Delivering Better Health Outcomes;Improving Public Health; orImproving Health and Social Care.Giving patients choice over their own care, reducing health inequalities and approving health outcomes are important themes in Volunteering Fund National Awards and reflect the Government’s wider commitment to modernising the NHS.

Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow said:

“I am immensely grateful to the thousands of volunteers who already work in the NHS and social care. The idea of a Big Society isn’t new, what is new is that this Government is making it easier for people to do more: giving people power to improve public services, putting communities in control and supporting people to help others.

“Thirteen very different charities have been selected to receive this funding, all united in the compassion of their volunteers and commitment to improving health and well-being. Initiatives range from tackling health inequalities to preventing ill-health and improving health outcomes to spreading information and good health advice.”

The Government will invest over £40m in volunteering and social action over the next two years. New commitments were set out by the Cabinet Office in the Giving White Paper last week:

  • The Volunteering Match Fund will match private donations to voluntary groups pound-for-pound and will be worth around £10m per year.
  • The Volunteering Infrastructure programme, worth £42.5m over four years, this programme will provide brokerage and support services to volunteers.
  • The £10m Social Action Fund will support new incentives for people to give, such as ‘complementary currencies’ that offer people credit for volunteering.
  • Over the next two years, Youthnet’s national database of volunteering opportunities will get over £1m from the Cabinet Office, Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health.

Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive, Family Lives said:

“We are delighted the Department of Health is to help fund our "Focused on Families" project, through its national DH Volunteering Fund. "Focused on Families” is an innovative, community-led project that takes a preventative approach to improving mental health outcomes through voluntary Family Support Mentors.

“This new funding will help us to work with health and social care professionals to identify vulnerable families at risk of poor mental and physical health outcomes and train Family Support Mentors to help improve the mental and physical health outcomes of vulnerable families.

“Family Lives listens to and empowers families by helping them to identify the solutions that work for them. Our volunteers are trained to support families through a range of challenging situations that can range from crying babies to bullying at school or relationship break ups. No two calls are the same and there are often challenges on every shift but our volunteers have the reward of knowing that their skills have helped someone through a really difficult time.”

Steve Buckell, Action for Blind People’s project manager in Bristol, said:

“We are delighted to be a recipient of this award. It will allow us to help more people when they are at their most vulnerable and work to improve health and social care providers’ understanding of the emotional and mental health needs of people facing sight loss. Research shows that depression is twice as common in visually impaired people as in the sighted population, and providing counselling services has been shown to significantly reduce suicidal ideation, as well as feelings of depression, loss and anxiety.

“Unfortunately, it is our experience that general counselling services are not effective for people with visual impairments – our project offers person-centred, humanistic therapies most suited to people facing sight loss.”

Chief Executive of UK volunteering charity CSV, Lucy de Groot, said:

“This invaluable support from the Department of Health will further demonstrate the clear benefits of empowering volunteers to deliver important health messages to those who are marginalised or live in isolated parts of our communities. Experience shows that local volunteers bring qualities of time, trust and local knowledge that help breakdown barriers to complex and sometimes taboo health issues whether it be sexual health, screening for bowel cancer or mental health. CSV will use its experience of working with local health partners and its many other networks to recruit and support volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to spread health messages amongst older people and people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds."

Andy Cole Chief Executive of Bliss said:

“Bliss is delighted to be one of the recipients of the first DH Volunteering Fund. This funding will provide opportunities for hundreds of volunteers around the country to deliver new and extended services to support premature and sick babies and their families. Bliss aims to ensure the very best outcomes for these tiny, vulnerable babies and their families at what can be an extremely challenging time, and this project is a very important step to make this happen.”

Kate Williams, Director of Healthcare Professional Service, NCT, said:

“We are delighted to receive this award. With this funding we will be able to develop a new model of support for women and their partners through pregnancy, birth and the early days of being a parent.

“This support will be provided free of charge in local communities by trained volunteers. We will be able to support many more parents than those who currently attend our paid-for NCT courses.”

Ian Green, CEO of YMCA England said:

“YMCA England is delighted to be one of the organisations selected to receive a Volunteering Fund Award. The funding will provide YMCAs with a real opportunity to empower young people through training and mentoring work to help improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable young people. Evidence has shown that young people listen to and are influenced by other young people and our ‘young health champions’ will play a vital role to ensure that their peers have access to local health services to enable them to live fit and healthy lives. The young health champions will also have an important role to play to influence local health providers and commissioners to ensure that that local health services meet the needs of young people”.

Benita Refson 0BE, Chief Executive, The Place2Be said:

“This National grant will enable The Place2Be to extend the reach of our service by skilling-up volunteers from local communities over the next three years; it will also build the charity’s capacity by extending the network of volunteers. The grant is a recognition of the essential work of our volunteers in the field of school-based early intervention and is an investment in our communities, our children and our future.

“The Place2Be works in schools to support vulnerable children and hard to reach families who are living in some of the most economically deprived wards within the UK. 700 clinically trained volunteer counsellors are currently working within 172 Place2Be schools supporting 58,000 children and their families. The value of the volunteers time is £7 million per year. The Place2Be’s early intervention service is an exemplary model of volunteering which works hand in hand with schools and statutory health and social care services . The service is rigorously evaluated and improvements are tangible, evidence shows that children accessing The Place2Be increase their resilience and are better able to concentrate, learn and achieve.“

Jenne Dixit, Diabetes UK Head of Equality and Diversity, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this grant. The funding recognises the success of the Diabetes Community Champions programme piloted in London in 2010 and will enable us to expand and continue the programme to educate and raise awareness of diabetes in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

“People of Black and South Asian origin are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and the programme supports and trains Community Champions to play a pivotal role in their communities. We have 97 passionate Diabetes Community Champions in London and this grant will enable us to set up similar networks in 12 cities across England.”

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We are delighted that the Department of Health has granted funding for this vital Refugee Council project that will see volunteers helping refugees and asylum seekers to access the healthcare they so desperately need.

“Refugees and asylum seekers have often been through extremely traumatic situations in their own countries and arrive in the UK with complex physical and mental health issues. Yet many do not know what their entitlements are and often find it difficult to access appropriate health services. Through this project, a team of volunteers will enable our clients across England to get the right help at the right time so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.”

Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to harness the power of volunteering to make a real difference to the health outcomes of patients with a learning disability. People with a learning disability are often treated by doctors and nurses who do not understand their disability and consequently they receive a poorer standard of care. This project will help to make healthcare more focussed on their needs and ensure that they have a say in the treatment they receive.”

Source: Department of Health

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