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How can a community-based volunteer workforce be rapidly and safely implemented? What is the impact of a community-based volunteer workforce on providing support for self-isolating and vulnerable older members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This project, led by Tricia Wilson, is funded by the NIHR ARC KSS.

Research Team:
CHSS, University of Kent:
Professor Patricia Wilson (CI), Dr Julie MacInnes (Project Manager), Sabrena Jaswal (RA), Dr Vanessa Abrahamson (advisory group), BSMS Kat Frere-Smith (RA), Dr Priya Paudyal (advisory group),
University of Surrey Prof Heather Gage (health economics), Dr Bridget Jones (RA), Dr Jo Armes (advisory group)
ARC/AHSN Rebecca Sharp (implementation lead)

Project Objectives:

  • Conduct a rapid review of existing evidence on the implementation and impact of community-based volunteers supporting older vulnerable people.
  • Map the range of approaches to organising and supporting volunteers within the statutory and third sector organisations working in the community across Kent, Surrey, Sussex (KSS).
  • Ascertain how Covid-19 has impacted on pre-existing volunteer services supporting older vulnerable people.
  • Explore the experience and impact of KSS COVID-19 volunteers through undertaking qualitative telephone interviews with health and social care practitioners, those organising and supporting volunteers, volunteers and recipients of their support.   
  • Identify how organisations and volunteers identify and communicate with recipients of support, particularly those who do not use digital (excluding phones) methods.
  • Develop a set of key messages for KSS local authority (community hubs), local resilience forums, health and social care providers, voluntary organisations and community groups in order to facilitate safe implementation of a COVID-19 volunteer workforce.

Start date: 4 May 2020; End Date: 4 September 2020
Funder: NIHR via Sussex Partnership NHS Trust

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Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

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Last Updated: 28/09/2020