Four hospitals will benefit from an overall fund of £200,000 through the Young People Helping in Hospitals programme, funded by the Department of Health and run by Nesta.

The funds will support each hospital to expand the reach and impact of youth volunteering schemes, and to share the evidence of the impact that volunteering has had on patients and their families.

The hospitals are:

Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex

The hospital will focus on developing two roles for younger volunteers. The dementia buddies role will impact on patients’ experiences, reducing anxiety and supporting carers and the discharge role will help to support timely discharge to home after a hospital stay.

Royal Free London

The team will focus on dementia support through a mealtime role and a guiding role. The roles will train volunteers specifically in dementia awareness and aim to increase patient satisfaction, reduce anxiety and decrease late-attend appointments.

University Hospital Southampton

Befriending and mealtime volunteering roles will be developed further by the hospital as they aim to attract young volunteers to take part in the hospital. Special training will be provided to support the new volunteers and will aim to improve the patient experience of hospital and to reduce anxiety.

Western Sussex Hospitals
The hospital will further develop three roles, the discharge assistant role and dining companions role will also be supplemented by a taster role - providing a lower commitment way for young people to take a first step into volunteering. The roles will aim to reduce isolation, improve overall experience of the hospital environment, and reduce delays in discharge.

Alistair Burt, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, said: "We all need to consider what we can do to help care for family, friends, neighbours, and our wider community. That is why I am so pleased that the Government is funding Nesta to deliver these pilots to recruit up to 200 young volunteers. The young people who take up this opportunity will gain important skills for their future in the labour market and will be able to help improve the lives and care for many people".

Halima Khan, Executive Director of Nesta’s Health Lab, said: "We're delighted to support the four hospitals to involve young people in volunteering and increase the impact that volunteering can have on patients, friends and family. We think there is significant potential for young people to play an important role in hospitals – to improve care, support staff and gain valuable experience".

The four hospitals on the programme will also share learning with a further six hospitals who are working with Nesta to develop their own approaches to more impactful volunteering, funded Cabinet Office and run by Nesta.