More than 500,000 tasks completed by NHS volunteer army

More than half a million tasks have been completed by the NHS army of volunteers recruited to help local communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme has been made available to councils, charities and NHS staff – with almost 600,000 signing up to help vulnerable people when it launched three months ago.

The system used geo-location to pinpoint the nearest volunteer and where possible tasks were matched and delivered within 24 hours by the 360,000 volunteers who were active during lockdown.

Volunteers helped to deliver food and medicines, and chatted to those isolating alone through thousands of “check-in and chat” phone calls.

They have also helped people to get to and from hospital appointments.

NHS Volunteer Responders: top 10 areas
(PA Graphics)

As the country moves to the next phase of its response to the virus, support remains open for local communities and NHS staff.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service – the charity delivering the scheme, said: “To reach this significant milestone is testament to the goodwill of our nation who have come together to tackle this virus.

“Through the scale of our network, the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme has and will continue to provide a vital safety net for all people in need of support across England and we can’t thank our volunteers enough.

“Our volunteers are important eyes and ears on the ground, and not only are they helping to do the day to day tasks that those isolating may not be able to do, but they are also playing a vital role in identifying individuals who need additional support.

“It has been inspiring to see volunteers, friends, families and communities pulling together to help one another as the nation continues to battle coronavirus and we want to remind everyone that help is still available for those continuing to stay at home, even as lockdown measures ease.”

Based on the number of tasks completed per 1,000 people, the five areas benefiting the most from the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme were Wolverhampton, Kensington and Chelsea, Hastings, Middlesbrough and East Lindsey.

NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Royal Voluntary Service are encouraging people who need support to register by calling 0808 196 3646.

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