Shortlisted for national Helpforce Champions Awards
06 November 2018

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust shortlisted for national Helpforce Champions Awards

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCFT) Voluntary Services and Community Development Lead, Mandy Cleaver, has been shortlisted for Volunteer Leader of the Year at the first ever Helpforce Champions Awards, providing national recognition of the fantastic contribution to volunteering in the NHS.

The awards, which take place in central London on Thursday 8 November, will celebrate the varied ways in which volunteers across the country are giving their time to benefit patients, staff, and communities.

Mandy has been shortlisted for her work in transforming voluntary services, growing from a team of two with 80 volunteers, 10 years ago, now to a service which is supported by four volunteer managers, administrators, and a volunteer coordinator.

Volunteering at SCFT has grown from strength to strength. There are now 500 volunteers who support 107 different services, with an additional 200 volunteers from charity partners who help run coffee shops, toy libraries, receptions and provide support with transport.

Recent innovations include students working with patients with dementia; helping to reduce isolation with patients in their own homes; and the launch of a new health champion role helping to signpost patients on discharge from hospital.

There has been an increase in the number of peer supporters including mums who support other mums to breastfeed, and an uptake in more volunteers providing a befriending service for stroke patients by people who have had a stroke themselves. 

Mandy said “It has been a hugely exciting journey over the past ten years, and working for a community NHS organisation gives so many opportunities to engage with our services, to help innovate and enhance patient experience. My enthusiastic and passionate team have enabled us to take volunteering to a whole new level. Personally I would like thank our incredible volunteers who give us their time to help our patients.”

Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive, SCFT said “Congratulations to Mandy for being shortlisted for this prestigious national award. Her leadership ensures that SCFT has a vibrant group of volunteers who give up their time for free to help some of the most vulnerable people in our community, as well as supporting our staff.”

By shining a light on the range of ways that volunteers are involved in the NHS, the Helpforce Champions Awards will show that dedicated volunteers can contribute to a more compassionate care system for everyone.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder and Chair of Helpforce, said: “We have been humbled to see so many examples of inspiring volunteering from across the country. We know the benefits that well managed volunteers bring, with substantial improvements in patient care and positive feedback from NHS staff. Helpforce is on a mission to inspire as many people as possible to enjoy being part of the health and care of British people, and I look forward to celebrating and thanking all those volunteers who are giving so much.”

The categories being celebrated at the awards are:

  • Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year
  • Young Volunteer of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Outstanding Staff Champion for Volunteers
  • Volunteer Leader of the Year
  • Partnership Working in Volunteering
  • Innovation in Volunteering Award
  • Celebrating Inclusion and Diversity in Volunteering

Helpforce is the national movement working to improve the lives of NHS staff, patients and communities through the power of volunteering. It is partnering with hospitals and healthcare workers to create the future of volunteering in the NHS. Backed by healthcare leaders, Helpforce aims to make community-integrated healthcare the norm across the UK.

For further information about volunteering opportunities at SCFT please visit