Headlines: December 15th, 2009

A new funding model has been unveiled in a move to widen and strengthen investment in volunteering in health and social care. The new Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund is designed to renew the focus on volunteering projects in the NHS and social care by managing the grants system centrally.

The fund will replace the 27-year-old Opportunities for Volunteering scheme and will continue to support local volunteering projects as well as opening opportunities to national projects to improve health and well being. It will award grants to dozens of projects, which could include schemes to provide friendship and support to vulnerable adults, community services for disabled children and help for people living with and affected by HIV. Priority will be given to projects working towards key aims such as improving adult social care and reducing inequalities in health care.

National third sector bodies, Community Service Volunteers and Prime Timers will work with ECOTEC in administering the fund and the Government says this central administration will ensure value for money and mean that any third sector organisation can apply for funding.

The Care Services Minister, Phil Hope said volunteers were vital to the NHS and social care services and added: “This new funding system will offer more scope for national projects in areas such as obesity, smoking and young people’s health. It will make our money work harder by opening up funding opportunities to more organisations.”