Three people sitting in a waiting room, the middle figure is being comforted


Helpforce is working with Third Sector Support Wales, Welsh Government and other partners to develop the potential of volunteering to support health and social services.

What is Helpforce?

From its ground-breaking inception, Sir William Beveridge and Aneurin Bevan envisioned the NHS as a place where volunteers and communities would play an active role.

Inspired by this vision, Helpforce began in England in 2017 and is working to develop a unified and integrated approach to volunteering in healthcare settings across the UK. Helpforce is demonstrating the positive impact that volunteers can have on patients, on staff and services as well as on volunteers themselves.’At Helpforce we believe that when we harness the power of dedicated and caring volunteers we can create a more compassionate care system for all of us’ – Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of Helpforce.

Helpforce Cymru

Helpforce Cymru began in 2019 with support from the National Lottery Community Fund UK,  Welsh Government and Helpforce UK. It is working with Third Sector Support Wales, Welsh Government and other partners to develop the potential for volunteering to support health and social care services.

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act and A Healthier Wales provide the strategic framework for Helpforce in Wales. They embed the principles of preventative action, co-production, citizen involvement, collaborative working, and innovation and seek new models of working to transform and integrate our health and social services. Helpforce is an opportunity to highlight, develop and plan for effective volunteer involvement in hospital and community settings.

The Helpforce Cymru steering group includes representation from Welsh Government, NHS Nursing and volunteering leadership, County Voluntary Councils, third sector partners, Social Care Wales and Health Education Improvement Wales.

Our Aims

Helpforce Cymru is working with partners on a range of activities which contribute to achieving the following longterm aims

  • readiness and capability for effective volunteer involvement
  • volunteering integrated and resourced within remodelled health and social care services
  • impactful volunteering which benefits patients, service users, staff and volunteers
  • culture of continuous improvement through learning and sharing networks
  • more robust evidence to support strategic volunteering interventions

What we have achieved

  • worked with Welsh Government ‘A Healthier Wales’ comms team to produce videos to illustrate how volunteers are contributing to our health and care services:

Volunteers with PIVOT, Pembrokeshire, support patients after hospital discharge

Volunteers with Action for Hearing Loss offer advice and practical maintenance of hearing aids

A video to highlight how volunteers are contributing to a Healthier Wales

  • organised web discussions reflecting on the Covid 19 pandemic and a published report on each session:

Building on the community response and volunteering

Volunteering to support the NHS

  • worked with Wales TUC, trade unions and voluntary sector partners to produce a Charter for volunteering and workplace relationships

You can download the Charter here.

Listen to WCVA partners commending the Charter and its use

Owen Wilce, Monmouthshire County Council

Angela Hughes, Cardiff and Vale  UHB

Michelle Fowler, Cardiff and Vale UHB

Nia Williams, National Museum of Wales

Jo Parry, National Trust

  • supported the development of national volunteer standards which  will provide, in due course, the basis for a recognised  certificate  for volunteers in health and care.

What we are doing:

  • Supporting and evaluating pilot projects in volunteering and end of life care within three Health Boards:  Aneurin Bevan, Hywel Dda and Powys
  • Working with Helpforce to develop a volunteer learning portal  with links to relevant resources in Wales
  • Identifying and sharing good practice, for example see the case studies below.

You can download the latest Helpforce Wales newsletter here.

New standards for the induction of volunteers in health and care have been developed by Helpforce.  These will provide, in due course, a framework for a new volunteering certificate.

If you would like more details about Helpforce activities, learning opportunities and resources contact Fiona Liddell, Helpforce Cymru Manager Wales ( to be added to our Helpforce Cymru mailing list.

Articles, blogs and resources

See blogs by Fiona Liddell, Helpforce Cymru Manager.

Success Stories: Volunteers repair hearing aids in Powys September 2020
Success Stories: Volunteers for mental health and wellbeing in Cardiff August 2020
Success Stories: Volunteers improve mobility and wellbeing of older patients July 2020
Success Stories: The attic project March 2020
Success Stories: Skanda Vale Hospice February 2020
Success Stories: Young volunteers supporting Cardiff hospitals December 2019
Success Stories: Red Kite volunteers at Powys Teaching Health Board October 2019
Success Stories:  Positive Steps with Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service September 2019
Success Stories: Volunteering in A and E at Hywel Dda University Health Board August 2019

Paper: Volunteering and wellbeing goals October 2020
Paper: Volunteering and public Service in Wales – Sandy Clubb. A vision paper developed by Volunteering Wales Network and presented at gofod3 in March 2018
Paper: Hidden treasure: volunteering time and talent December 2020 (Written for and published by NHS Confederation Wales)

White logo with the words Helplu Helpforce in navy writing


Category | Volunteering |

Charter for volunteering and workplace relationships

More resources