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P33 Development of a volunteer forum to engage with our key workforce
  1. Alison Moorey,
  2. Emma Lemm and
  3. Ruth Cleeves
  1. St Wilfrids Hospice, Chichester, UK


During the Hospice’s 25th Anniversary year a group of Trustees and senior staff, along with a Volunteer Consultant, undertook a ‘listening exercise’ to improve engagement with our local community. One of the recommendations of the project was to establish a formal method of consulting with our volunteers.

Building on the success of our volunteers winning The Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the proposal to establish a forum was made at the annual volunteers meeting and a group emerged of those who were interested in becoming forum members.

A Chair was elected by the group and Terms of Reference drawn up and agreed when the meetings commenced in October 2012. The forum now has 19 members, representing all areas of volunteer input including retail, and the Chair meets regularly with the Chief Executive and Volunteer Services Leader so that issues raised can be formally reported to the Management Team.

The forum provides real opportunities to formally engage with our volunteers, aligning with two of the key operating principles identified by the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care – ‘developing the hospice workforce’ and ‘reaching out – promoting conversation, informing and supporting choice’. Forum members have reported they are better informed about all activities of the Hospice and feel that their voice is truly valued. Members are planning to visit other hospices to learn about examples of developing roles of volunteers and feedback to the forum.

Formal feedback from volunteers is obtained by means of an annual survey and this will include feedback about the forum so that we can ensure all volunteer voices are heard. As the Trustees consider future options to develop our services to meet growing needs, the forum will enable effective strategic contribution from volunteers, as recommended in the Commission’s report ‘Volunteers: vital to the future of hospice care.’

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