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New volunteering scheme will help anchor care homes in their communities

A new programme to promote volunteering in care homes has launched this month with volunteers being recruited to support older people in both residential and nursing care homes in five Clinical Commissioning Group areas across England.

The scheme, run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), will see volunteers undertake activities with residents through a partnership between the care home and a nearby volunteer centre – local charities that act as recruitment agencies for volunteers.

The 2012 care and support white paper, Caring For Our Future, identified the need for closer integration of residential care homes with their communities and emphasised the benefits of promoting volunteering in care homes. This project will identify and promote good practice in volunteering in care home settings, and support care home providers to develop the skills required to manage their own volunteering programmes.

The £540,000 scheme, funded by the Department of Health’s innovation programme, will run until March 2016. Around 400 residents are expected to benefit initially, with learning from the programme going on to shape and promote good practice for volunteering in the care home sector.

The project will match care homes across five Clinical Commissioning Group areas with their local volunteer centre (1). The volunteer centres will recruit volunteers to carry out personalised activities including befriending, IT skills, music and games. Tasks may also include taking residents to churches or cinemas, or helping them write letters. Some homes have expressed interest in volunteers supporting their residents to volunteer, for example by sharing their personal histories in local schools – an activity that was recommended in the care and support white paper.

Skills for Care will be working with the project to develop the required training programmes to support volunteers and staff while NCVO’s Institute for Volunteering Research will develop and conduct an evaluation of the scheme.

Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

‘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.

‘Volunteers can complement the work of paid staff and bring a richness and diversity of experience that can greatly enhance residents’ lives.

‘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.’


For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., media officer (NCVO) on 020 7520 2413.

NCVO represents the voluntary sector, with over 10,000 members from the largest household name charities to the smallest community groups.

(1) Initial list of CCGs, volunteer centres and care homes involved in the project:

CCG Volunteer Centre Care Homes
NHS Oldham CCG Oldham Volunteer Centre

Park House


NHS Blackburn and Darwen CCG Blackburn & Darwen CVS

Moorland View Care Home

NHS Shropshire CCG Shropshire Rural Community Council

Uplands at Oxon Nursing Home

Crowmoor House Residential Home

NHS South Derbyshire South Derbyshire CVS

Overseal Residential Care Home

Shardlow Manor

NHS Central London CCG Westminster Volunteer Centre

Forrester Court

Carlton Dene Elderly Resource Centre

St George's Nursing Home

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