West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) are proud to be supporting national Volunteers Week which starts on Thursday 1 June.
WY HCP has a thriving voluntary and community sector with thousands of volunteers helping people across Bradford district and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield District, giving anything from a few minutes a week to hundreds of hours of their time freely every year .
In West Yorkshire there are an estimated 132,214 volunteers giving at least 9.5 million hours of work valued at between £94 million and £132 million a year.
The importance of volunteering in our communities and across the UK has never been clearer. From those offering support to neighbours and friends, to local volunteering with voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations, including in health and care settings, or giving time through charities.
Every person giving their time, skills and commitment to help others is a vital part of the work at WY HCP and all are valued. You don’t need to look far to see the positive difference being made at every level of society when the VCS comes together to lead on initiatives such as volunteers acting as befrienders, running food banks, community cafes or gardens, delivering accessible group activities or events, acting as trustees for charities, to name a few…….
This is one of the reasons why WY HCP in April allocated a further £2.8 million to support the vital work of voluntary, community and hospice care in West Yorkshire, on top of local funding routes.
This is built on the great work already taking place already to reduce the impact of loneliness, to prevent ill health and to tackle health inequalities.
Volunteering has long been acknowledged as part of the wider health and care arena, with WY HCP Five Year Integrated Care Plan and their People Plan highlighting the important role volunteers play in key areas of work, such as the maternity voice partnerships, social prescribing and health and care champions for people with learning disabilities. Recognising the vital skills they offer and bring is a priority for our plans in the future.
Kim Shutler, Senior Responsible Officer for Harnessing the Power of Communities Programme, who is the CEO for the Cellar Trust, a mental health charity in Bradford said: ‘This Volunteers Week we want to recognise the important work all our volunteers do here in West Yorkshire and say a big thank you to you all. Volunteering is about real, human stories. It is about making a difference for individuals and communities and enriching the lives of volunteers themselves. The impact they make on so many people’s lives at every level is nothing short of amazing’.
Kate Sims, Director of People for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: ‘I want to thank every volunteer who gives up their skills and time to help others. Volunteering is an integral part of a strong and resilient society. During the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis we have seen the positive difference they continue to make to people and communities above and beyond, day in, day out’.
WY HCP is made up of organisations working closely together to plan services and address the challenges facing health and care services across the area. This includes the NHS, councils, social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations and Healthwatch.