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P34 Emotional competence as the baseline for volunteering in hospices
  1. Mark Stogdon
  1. North London Hospice, London, UK


In the summer of 2011 North London Hospice set out to refresh our approach to volunteering to include:

  • Developing a different model of volunteering

  • Incorporating Volunteers as part of our workforce (under HR)

  • Moving the management of volunteers to our services/departments

  • Encompassing volunteers from Retail & Fundraising

  • Increasing the variety of roles to match need

  • Developing a more highly trained volunteer workforce

  • Improving ongoing support and communication

Our approach was to regard ‘Emotional competence’ to be the highest context of training and preparing volunteers and we have designed a baseline programme which we have named ‘Oyster’ training. The amount of training corresponds to the emotional complexity of the work and then the service itself undertakes further supervision, mentoring and training to assist the volunteer in to the specific role. At the higher end this is work undertaken by volunteers who are working for our new Loss & Transition service, which provides pre and post bereavement support. We have learnt that for the transition of volunteers to services to work effectively it is important to structure the services to lead on particular volunteer roles; for example new Loss & Transition Co-ordinators developed from a Social Work re-structure and a Front of House Volunteer Lead from an Admin and Facilities re-structure. The hearts and minds part of the development both for staff and volunteers requires regular face to face contact; relationship being an important underpinning of the change. This is all still work in progress and the development of the capacity for volunteers to co-ordinate themselves and support each other is the next important step.

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