Starting out

If you are considering the development of a community volunteering programme there are a number of areas you may wish to examine.

Hospice UK Graphic showing a team of volunteers wearing white Hospice UK branded t-shirts with the title Community Volunteering: Starting Out

Gathering information

Perhaps the most important question to ask is what you hope to achieve through a community volunteering programme as this may have significant influence on the type of programme that you go on to develop.

  • Do you want to move more towards a public health or Compassionate Community approach to palliative care?
  • Do you want to engage and empower the community to support people with PEOLC needs?
  • Do you want to reach more people that do not typically use hospice services?
  • Do you want to extend the support that your hospice can offer?

At the outset, a scoping exercise is valuable in identifying currently available support in the local community. It is equally important to understand the palliative and end of life care needs in the wider community.

This will not only identify key areas of focus for the community volunteering programme, but also potential partnership opportunities, minimising the likelihood of duplication of support.

What are the challenges, drawbacks and risks?

It is equally important to understand the challenges and drawbacks. Forewarned is forearmed! The drawbacks most frequently identified by hospices in the Analysis Report included:

  • management (including recruitment, support, training, funding)
  • maintaining boundaries 
  • meeting demand 
  • managing risk.

This is discussed in detail in section six of the Report along with information on how some hospices have addressed these.

Further resources

Analysis Report Section 9 for reasons for developing community volunteering services.

Analysis Report Section 6 for evidence of benefits and challenges of hospice community volunteering

Making a business case: Volunteering Vital to Our Future Part 1

Information about Compassionate Neighbours

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