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P-91 Creating meaningful volunteering in clinical areas for young volunteers in a scottish hospice
  1. Maggie Young and
  2. Karen Filsell
  1. St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, UK


Background 2018 was Year of the Young Person in Scotland. The hospice traditionally offered existing single-department roles to young people wanting clinical experience for college or work. As part of its Leadership Programme, Volunteer Services wanted an innovative and sustainable project offering young volunteers a range of opportunities in clinical departments.

Objectives of the project

  • To create a meaningful volunteering experience in healthcare for those aged 17–25;

  • To offer experience of various clinical departments;

  • To engage and build lasting, sustainable partnerships with local further education establishments, schools and organisations;

  • To develop positive working relationships with clinical teams to support this project.


  • Engagement with clinical teams to create a programme of short term volunteering opportunities;

  • Advertising via social media, local community links, local further education establishments, existing volunteer database;

  • Interview and appointment of four young volunteers;

  • Volunteers attended Hospice Corporate Induction and shadow trained for each role alongside volunteers and staff;

  • Volunteers completed a programme of 50 hours volunteering over 18 weeks;

  • Volunteers supported teams in the Wards, Day Therapies, Supportive Care, Reception and Fundraising;

  • Regular feedback was given to young volunteers face–to–face and via email and telephone contact.


  • Four young people completed the programme: two university students and two from senior school;

  • Young volunteers were placed in teams that had not had young volunteers before;

  • Positive and long–lasting relationships were built with colleagues across the hospice

  • Increased staff confidence in working with young volunteers;

  • Young people gained invaluable palliative care experience and emotional resilience

  • Staff are looking forward to the next cohort.


  • Availability of young volunteers often changed, so allow time to be flexible;

  • Work with schools and colleges on the best way to attract young volunteers;

  • Hugely rewarding to young people but allow enough time and resources to set up and facilitate.

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