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P-256  Developing our people – establishing a new training programme for volunteers
  1. Katherine Perrin
  1. St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley, UK


Introduction Skogland suggests that effective training “results in volunteers’ willingness to participate in the agency’s volunteer program for a significant period of time” (Skogland 2006).

Aim To invest in our 800+ volunteers by delivering essential training, to refresh key skills and competencies, improve confidence and encourage volunteers to share and gain new expertise.

Method Of our four categories of volunteer (clinical, non-clinical, retail and community), we prioritised clinical and set up a project group of clinical managers and the volunteering development manager. Content was influenced by legal and policy requirements, general information for all volunteers and specific competencies needed, with managers leading on their skill areas.

During the day, volunteers explored the challenges of communicating, safeguarding, setting boundaries and volunteering safely. Working through scenarios and practical exercises, volunteers learnt from clinicians as well as each other, with a strong focus on insights into life as a patient.

One important aim is to transform all hospice volunteers into Dementia Friends, and this work will create more than 240 new Dementia Friends supporting our work and using this knowledge in their everyday lives.

Results Our clinical volunteer workforce of over 65 individuals are now trained, giving great feedback about its usefulness, practical nature and fun delivery.

This successful model and project approach has since been applied to stage two, non-clinical volunteers, with over 170 now beginning their training.

Given the strength of feedback, we have now embedded a two-stage training programme for all new volunteers.

Conclusion This training ensures our volunteers are safe and effective in their role, that we are meeting our duty of care to them and are creating ambassadors of all volunteers.

As a cross-departmental initiative, it has broken down silo-working, significantly reduced risk, embedded key competencies and provided crucial investment in our volunteers.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work noncommercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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