Last year, we made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend the majority of our face to face volunteering roles across Nottinghamshire Healthcare. Some roles have made the transition to being done virtually, but many haven’t been able to. With the current easing of restrictions, we’re now able to resume physical volunteering roles. Before this happens, there are a few things that need to be considered and as a team, we believe that the best way to manage this is by phasing this return. of voluntary roles, so that we can best support both volunteers and staff. We’re excited about being able to resume face-to-face volunteering, but we’re very conscious that this may also be an anxious time for some. As a team, we’ve created a checklist to go through for each role that we’re returning to services.
We have a range of volunteer roles in Nottinghamshire Healthcare. In the phased return, we’re prioritising roles that have had to be suspended entirely during the pandemic and are patient-focussed. We’ll then be moving on to returning roles that have been changed to virtual but are returning to face-to-face.
In returning volunteers to roles, we’re ensuring that the Volunteer Role Profiles are up to date, and that Volunteers and Placement Officers both have a copy.
We’re ensuring that everyone’s mandatory training is up to date before they resume their roles. There’s information on our website as to how to access the online training platform. All volunteers will be asked to complete:
- Data Security
- Safeguarding Adults
- Safeguarding Children
- Equality & Diversity
If the volunteer role needs it, you may be asked to complete further training courses. For example, Volunteers in the Tea Bar will be required to complete courses on Food Hygiene.
During the past year, many staff have been redeployed or changed role. We’ll be contacting Placement Officers in advance of volunteers returning to sites to ensure that they’re fully supported in their volunteer’s return.
You may be aware that Nottinghamshire Healthcare has recently released a Trust-wide uniform review. Volunteers have been included in this review and have been allocated a yellow polo shirt with black trousers. There’s a transition period of 6 months to phase in the new uniforms. Not all volunteer roles will require a uniform. This will be done on a role-by-role basis and will also be informed by Service Managers and on-site guidance. Volunteers will be contacted if they do roles that would need a uniform. We’ll be providing more information on this soon.
Lateral Flow Tests
Staff within patient-facing areas are regularly taking Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) to help reduce the spread of COVID. Volunteers going into these areas will also need to take LFT tests. We’re currently clarifying how volunteers will access tests and how they will report results. As part of their return, volunteers will be informed and supported in accessing tests.
COVID Risk Assessments
Same as staff, all returning volunteers will be asked to complete a COVID risk assessment to help us understand your own personal level of risk and if there is anything we can do to help you manage that in your volunteer role. We are also contacting areas to ensure that volunteers are considered in their on-site risk assessments.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be made available to you during your volunteer role on site. We will clarify with Placement Officers if any specialised PPE is needed for specific roles and you will be informed before your return and supported in its correct usage.
If you have not already had access to a vaccination, as a Nottinghamshire Healthcare volunteer, you are eligible.
Recruitment to Roles
As we progress through returning voluntary roles within our services, we will be contacting volunteers who were originally performing these roles to see if they wish to continue them. If not, we will be approaching our existing volunteers before recruiting to any vacancies with new external applicants.
What can Volunteers do now?
Bear with us over the next few weeks and months! We will contact you as we work through all the voluntary roles. As we’ve said, we’re initially prioritising roles that are patient-facing that have had to be stopped over the last year as we feel these are the most important to get back in place first.
If you’re doing your role virtually, don’t go back to face-to-face until you’ve spoken with a member of the team to say that it’s safe to do so. For the time being, continue to do that role virtually.
You can start working on getting your mandatory training up to date now. If you’re having issues accessing the online system, you can contact the team or look at our online guides. We will be looking at offering sessions within the Involvement Centres as we gradually open them, to help support people to get online and access training.
It is likely that we will be advertising new voluntary roles over the coming months. Some of you may be quite eager to get back or want to help where you can. We’d ask that you only put yourself forward for these roles if you’re able to take the commitment on. There’s no pressure or expectation from us that you fill them if we ask.
Stay in Touch!
We’ll be contacting many of you by email or phone over the next few weeks. Please check your emails (including your spam folder) for our messages. If you have any concerns or issues about returning to your role, please contact us and we’d be happy to help where we can.