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Hidden Workforce Report - Skills for Health

Hidden Workforce Report - Skills for Health

‘The

‘The Hidden Workforce’- Volunteers in the Health Sector in England 3.13 An important consideration for the sector is that volunteering can be a stepping stone for paid employment. If organisations do not focus on trying to make volunteer roles attractive to men the feminisation nature of the sector will be further perpetuated. 3.14 Baroness Neuberger advocates locally-based recruitment campaigns, designed around local needs, and quotes projects which have successfully adopted this approach, working with, and receiving referrals from, external agencies such as universities, schools, Jobcentre Plus and others. Indeed, she notes that successful local volunteer groups such as Newham Volunteers and Aintree Volunteers (the one originally local authority led, and the other NHS Trust-led) no longer need to advertise as they are now able to rely on word-of-mouth. 3.15 The suite of studies of individual trusts carried out by Volunteering England gives us a more detailed insight into who volunteers. Table 3.1: Who volunteers? Data from individual trust Trust Who volunteers? Age profile Chelsea & Westminster 75% women, over 80% white 55% aged 55+ Luton & Dunstable 78% women, 78% white most aged 55-74 Nottinghamshire 61% women; 75%+ white 26% under 24 Sussex 49% women; 86% white 75% aged 55+ Rampton 80%+ women 40% under 25 Wirral 73% women; all white 85% aged 55+ Source: Volunteering England: separate studies for individual trusts 3.16 The Chelsea and Westminster data (Fig 3.3 below) gives a typical picture – but the text notes that the position is changing fast at the trust, with more than half (53%) of the previous year’s new recruits under 25 (and 50% from a BME background). That detail suggests that where trusts make a conscious effort to change the balance of their volunteer team they can do so. 18

‘The Hidden Workforce’- Volunteers in the Health Sector in England Fig 3.3: Age distribution of volunteers at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust Source: Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust 3.17 Information is presented differently between the different trusts studied, but it is clear that a high proportion of volunteers in these trusts have a disability (14% at the Chelsea and Westminster Trust, which Volunteering England pointed out was a high figure) or are current or former service users. 3.18 We consider “Expert Patients” separately below. (para 3.24) Motivation to volunteer 3.19 The Helping Out survey (which covered all society, not just healthcare) reported the most common reasons for getting involved in volunteering as being: • to improve things or help people (53% of volunteers) • because the cause was important to the volunteer (41%) • because they had spare time on their hands (41%). (Note that these percentages overlap: many people have multiple motivations). 3.20 Percentages may be different for the healthcare sector, but that list sits well with our research for this project – with the difference that personal experience of healthcare, either directly for oneself or for a family member or friend, is a stronger motivating factor. (The hospice sector is the most obvious example of that difference). 19

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