According to the most recent estimates there are at least 49,000 children under the age of 19 in the UK with a life-limiting and/or life-threatening illness and a further 6,274 young people between the ages of 18 – 21 living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition in England alone.
The Family Support Pilot has been jointly developed and is co-funded by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and The True Colours Trust. The Pilot aims to link families who have a child with palliative care needs to people within the community who are able to help them with practical tasks such as cooking, cleaning and gardening. Community members will be able to volunteer on a full-time, regular or occasional basis.
It is hoped that the Pilot will also result in new volunteers being recruited to the palliative care sector, both people who have never volunteered before as well as those who have never volunteered within a palliative care setting before. This will be achieved by using a wide variety of methods to recruit volunteers and also by demonstrating the positive impact that small practical actions can have.
The Pilot will run for two to three years and has two distinct Phases. Over this time the Pilot will support a range of palliative care service providers to increase the amount of practical support they offer families through volunteers. The Pilot will take place in a number of palliative care settings, including hospices, community and statutory services (‘Host Sites’). The funding will be used to appoint a Volunteer Manager in Host Sites who will be responsible for recruiting and training a new pool of volunteers to offer practical support to families. The Host Site and Volunteer Manager will be supported by an external agency or organisation which will oversee the recruitment and training of volunteers and provide bespoke training resources for each site.
The Phase 1 Host Sites are East Anglia Children’s Hospice and Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, which have received support from Volunteering Matters, a national volunteering agency. The Phase 2 Sites will be confirmed in 2015 and will include both community and statutory providers. The Phase 2 sites will be supported by Together for Short Lives.
The Pilot has been well received by families linked to the Phase 1 sites and we look forward to rolling it out to more sites this year.
If the Pilot is a success, we hope that this volunteering model will be suitable for a national roll-out with suitable partners and additional funders.
Further announcements on the Pilot’s developments will be posted on our website when appropriate.