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The Royal College of Nursing and Volunteer Now Launch Joint Charter to Promote Volunteering in Health and Social Care

05 June 2013

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Volunteer Now have joined forces to launch a Charter promoting volunteering in health and social care in Northern Ireland.

RCN & Volunteer Now Launch CharterThe Charter, launched during Volunteers’ Week, sets out the principles on which volunteering is organised and how good relations between paid health and social care staff and volunteers are built.
Volunteering plays an essential role in the economic and social fabric of Northern Ireland. Around 280,000 people volunteer annually and it is estimated that this contributes 433 million each year to the local economy. Volunteering plays an important role in the delivery of key public services and is also good for the volunteer. It helps improve health and well-being and provides opportunities for individuals to acquire skills and knowledge that can enhance personal development, inform career choices or improve employment prospects.
Volunteer Now has been working with the RCN to develop the Charter. As the lead body for volunteering in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Now believes that volunteers bring added value and can enhance patients’ experience and well-being through their unique and flexible contribution.
Sandra Adair, Director of Policy and Capacity Building with Volunteer Now, said: “We are delighted that the RCN has taken this step to develop the Charter. It will raise the profile of the complementary role of volunteers and highlight the need to have in place good procedures, clarity of roles, mutual trust and support so as volunteers and staff can work effectively together for the benefit of those in their care.”
Janice Smyth, Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland, said: “The Charter demonstrates the value and importance that both organisations place on voluntary activity and the time, skill and commitment given to volunteers. Volunteer Now and the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland acknowledge that on the whole, relations between paid staff and volunteers are harmonious and mutually rewarding. They can, however, be enhanced by good procedures, clarity of respective roles, mutual trust and support.
“This Charter sets out the key principles to help underpin good relations in the workplace and ensure that volunteering supports, rather than replaces, paid employment within health and social care. These principles should be used as a guide by individual organisations to develop more detailed policies and procedures that reflect local needs and circumstances. This should be done in partnership between local trade union representatives, employers and local volunteering managers.”