Department of Health and Social Care
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News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 14 December 2009

A new funding model designed to broaden and strengthen investment in volunteering in health and social care was unveiled today by Care Services Minister, Phil Hope.

The Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund, will pave the way for a renewed focus on volunteering projects in the NHS and social care by managing the grants system centrally.

It replaces the Opportunities for Volunteering (OFV) scheme which has been running since 1982. The new scheme will continue to support local volunteering projects in health and social care, and open up the floor to national projects to improve health and wellbeing.

The scheme will award grants for dozens of volunteer projects which could include schemes such as providing friendship and support to vulnerable adults, community services for disabled children and help for those living with and affected by HIV. It will prioritise projects which work towards key aims such as improving adult social care and reducing health inequalities.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:

“Volunteers do an amazing job and are vital to the lifeblood of the NHS and social care services.

“This new funding system will offer more scope for national projects in areas such as obesity, smoking and young people’s health. It will make our money work harder by opening up funding opportunities to more organisations.”

The scheme will be managed by a partnership including leading national third sector bodies, Attend, Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and Prime Timers working with ECOTEC.

The new Fund’s central administration will ensure value for money and mean that any third sector organisation can apply for funding. It will also be more thorough in contributing to promoting best practice for partnerships between the NHS, social care and third sector organisations. By evaluating the success of all funded projects and sharing new learning and good practice, it will help strengthen the bonds between local commissioners and third sector organisations.

Lynne Berry, Chief Executive of WRVS said:

”Volunteering contributes to the health and well-being of those who volunteer and those who are supported through volunteering. It has a major impact on reducing health inequalities, challenging ageism and promoting strong and integrated communities. I very much welcome this new fund and I'm sure the experience of the ECOTEC partners makes them ideally placed to support both the local and national schemes.”

Rob Jackson, Director of Development and Innovation for Volunteering England said:

“Volunteering England welcomes the Department of Health’s announcement that Ecotec will manage the new Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund. The new fund will build on the important legacy of the Opportunities for Volunteering programme which has been running since the 1980s and will make a strategic investment in developing Health and Social Care volunteering. We look forward to working with Ecotec and the Department of Health to maximise the impact of this investment and meet the future challenges of this important area of volunteer engagement.”

Carolyn Hay on behalf of the partnership said:

"Our partnership is delighted to have been invited to develop this new fund for the Department of Health. The four partners have a wealth of third sector experience and extensive grant management expertise. We see this as a fantastic opportunity for all involved to build a positive future for volunteering in health and social care."

Notes to Editors

ECOTEC will manage the new Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund along with their partners PrimeTimers, Attend and CSV.

2. ECOTEC is an independent, employee-owned specialist programme management company with a network of offices throughout England and Europe. For more detail see

PrimeTimers is a social enterprise that places experienced business people into third sector organisations to bring about organisational change. PrimeTimers will provide diagnostic services and tailored support, as well as fostering long term sustainability.

Attend has 60 years experience as a membership organisation for voluntary groups working in health and social care, currently with 750 members. Attend will support projects with training and action learning sets.

CSV (Community Service Volunteers) has a track record of nearly 50 years delivering innovative volunteering support services for people with a range of social and health care needs. CSV will provide support consultancy and developmental services to funded projects.

The Fund will run concurrently with the OFV until 2012 to allow projects already being funded to run their course.

Applications for grants under the new Fund will open in January 2010. The first round will be for local projects, followed by a second round later in the year will support national schemes. Any third sector organisation wishing to run volunteering projects in the health or social care will be able to apply for funding.

The website address for Volunteering Fund is opening next week: Helpline number 0845 172 8058.


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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