Host of stars back Mail NHS volunteer campaign

Host of stars back Mail NHS volunteer campaign

December 6, 2018

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Peter Crouch join host of stars backing Mail NHS volunteer campaign as 17,500 recruits sign up to boost Health Service workforce by a FIFTH

  • 10,282 people have pledged to volunteer for three hours a week with the NHS
  • This is while a further 7,253 said they will give a day a month to the cause
  • The major volunteer recruitment drive is the biggest since the London Olympics 

Incredible Daily Mail readers have pledged more than a million hours of voluntary service to the NHS in just five days.

The number offering their time to help patients and relieve the strain on doctors and nurses surpassed 17,500 last night.

The generous pledges comprise 10,282 who have chosen to volunteer for three hours a week plus a further 7,253 who said they will give a day a month for the cause.

It means that the major volunteer recruitment drive – the biggest since the London 2012 Olympics – is set to boost the health service’s volunteering force by at least a fifth. 

The Mail’s campaign, in partnership with the charity Helpforce, aims to fill important roles such as providing friendship, transport services and cancer counselling.

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (pictured above) has said people joining the campaign can really make a difference 

The campaign has received the backing of the Prime Minister, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Scotland’s main political parties and leading health unions, who have hailed the incredible response of the public.

Last night, NHS Improvement added to the growing voices backing the recruitment drive. The watchdog’s chairman, Baroness Dido Harding, said she knew first-hand how challenging and rewarding volunteering can be.

She recently spent a day at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London running errands on behalf of doctors, nurses and patients. 

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She recounted: ‘I spent the day running errands across the hospital, collecting medication for patients and helping them get ready to leave.

‘It was a huge privilege to see up close what the NHS does, how hard our NHS staff work and to play a small part in making it easier for them to do their jobs. 

‘I walked over 25,000 steps and finished the day with a large smile on my face and a sense of satisfaction that I had helped make some patients’ and staff’s day a bit better.

‘Volunteers are not a substitute for having appropriately trained and qualified staff but they can bring compassion, time and a unique perspective that complements the brilliance of those on the frontline. 

The campaign has received the backing of the Prime Minister (pictured above)

‘And everyone benefits, including, as I found, the volunteers themselves.’

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has said boosting volunteers will be essential for the NHS to deliver ambitious upgrades to diagnosis and treatment, urging the public to ‘heed the call’.

The campaign has also won the hearts of stars such as Sir Tom Jones, Sir Cliff Richard, Joanna Lumley, Kate Garraway, Simon Cowell and Davina McCall.

Sporting greats including Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, Frankie Dettori and Bryan Robson are backing our Christmas appeal. 

The recruitment drive, taking place throughout December, is asking readers to register their interest by filling out a form online.

Peter Crouch (pictured above) said the NHS do an amazing job Today, there are an estimated 78,000 volunteers making vital contributions to the health service

Those who pledge will then be matched with a trust near to them, before taking on roles for a minimum of six months. Volunteers will not replace doctors and nurses, but can carry out simple tasks to help patients.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce, described the response as ‘phenomenal’.

He said: ‘It is only day five and already Daily Mail readers have pledged a million hours to support staff and patients in the NHS.

‘The phenomenal response so proves that people want to give back, they want to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in. The wave continues to build and we at Helpforce are so proud of every single person who has pledged so far.’

Today, there are an estimated 78,000 volunteers making vital contributions to the health service. Yet demand on the NHS is rising year-on-year, fuelled by the ageing population and advances in diagnosis and treatment.

Health bosses have confirmed the NHS is putting volunteering at the heart of its long term plan, aiming to recruit tens of thousands of new helpers.

Campaign is utterly inspiring – and we urge you to join, too

Stars and industry chiefs are lining up to back the Daily Mail’s NHS volunteer recruitment campaign and encourage readers to give their support:

Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer): ‘By joining this magnificent campaign, organised by the Daily Mail and Helpforce, you will be making a huge difference to the lives of others as well as to your own. An utterly inspirational idea. Volunteering can be life-changing for both you and them.’

Sir Nick Faldo (Britain’s greatest golfer): ‘I fully support this outstanding initiative from the Daily Mail and Helpforce. There cannot be a person in Britain who hasn’t had cause to be thankful for the NHS. 

How inspiring to learn that so many have stuck their hands up already and said, ‘Yes, I’d like to volunteer’. This is a campaign that is going to make a real difference.’

Stephanie Beacham (former Dynasty actress): ‘Free at the point of delivery is a phrase – and a service – that we take for granted. We shouldn’t. It’s something we should cherish. I’d urge anyone to volunteer and Helpforce is a great charity.

Peter Crouch (pictured above) said the NHS do an amazing job

Sebastian James (managing director of Boots): ‘It’s great to see this initiative from the Daily Mail. It is a great campaign. 

‘We are proud that our Boots colleagues do so much volunteering already. 

‘We support their involvement with this.’

Peter Crouch (former England footballer): ‘We all have our stories about the NHS – they really do an amazing job. In return, they deserve all the help we can give, so please consider volunteering for this great cause.’

Aled Jones/Russell Watson (singers): ‘NHS volunteers carry out incredible work. 

‘It is truly admirable that people give up their free time. 

‘We fully support the Helpforce campaign. Thank you to all the NHS volunteers.’

Alfie Boe (tenor): ‘Throughout the generations, the NHS has remained a stalwart pillar of our country. 

‘It’s overdue that we are raising awareness of the volunteers and so I’m very proud to be supporting Helpforce.’

Nigel Wilson (chief executive of Legal & General): ‘Every day we see inspiring examples of what can be achieved by volunteers, including in the NHS. 

 ‘Using the talent and goodwill of active and positive-minded citizens to complement our skilled professionals is a brilliant idea. Let’s make it happen.’

Let’s give hospitals a helping hand: Daily Mail launches its Christmas campaign calling for an army of volunteers to transform the NHS

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