A popular staff lounge set up to support teams at Walsall Manor Hospital through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond is one of the success stories in an NHS England report published today.
The NHS Volunteering Taskforce Report features the Manor Lounge, a partnership established through Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Patient Relations & Experience Team and Manor Farm Community Association.
The report focuses on further increasing the impact of NHS volunteers over the next five years and makes a set of recommendations to help take volunteering in health and care services to a new level.
The Manor Lounge offers a comfortable space where staff can take a break and enjoy free drinks and snacks, as well as chat to volunteers.
Originally set up to provide staff with space to take a break from the pressures of the pandemic, this facility has expanded to support staff through the current cost-of-living crisis. The Trust’s catering team now provides staff with free breakfasts and hot meals at a minimal cost.
Between 1 November 2022 and 31 January 2023, the lounge welcomed 3883 visitors (not including those who came to purchase a hot meal) enjoying a free snack, hot drink and taking a well-earned break.
Andrew Rice, Patient Experience & Voluntary Services Manager at Walsall Healthcare, said: “We are so proud to see the wonderful Manor Lounge showcased nationally as part of this important report.
“It has not only turned into a popular resource for staff but has also helped reinforce how vital it is that our hardworking and dedicated staff take a break from their busy environments.
“And, as the report clearly identifies, the impact volunteers make on the NHS is significant. We appreciate and value our volunteers who are invaluable to our staff and patients alike and selflessly contribute many hundreds of hours across our hospital and community services.”
NHS England set up the NHS Volunteering Taskforce in January 2022 to “stimulate transformational change in volunteering and strengthen links between volunteer programmes in and outside the NHS in England.”
Co-chaired by Chief Nursing Officer for England Dame Ruth May and founder of Helpforce Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, the taskforce has brought together a coalition of leaders from across government, the NHS, social care and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
Today’s report aims to strengthen leaders’ awareness of the value of volunteering, expand the number and nature of volunteering opportunities and ensure a greater consistency of volunteer experience across all health and care settings.