The type of community volunteering programme will need to be considered.


In the Analysis Report, many hospice community volunteer programmes were described as staff-led with volunteers delivering support. Only a small number of Hospice Neighbours or Compassionate Neighbour programmes described themselves as community or volunteer-led.

Despite many organisations having structured community volunteering programmes, several hospices moved away from this model and towards a more empowered ‘light touch’ approach.

A range of factors may influence the type of community volunteering programme appropriate to your organisation, including:

  • Requirements of funders.

  • Local community – needs, demographics, services.

  • Organisational philosophy of palliative care and culture.

  • Level of trust in volunteers.

  • Organisational attitude to risk.

  • Level of support from trustees and senior staff.

  • Charitable objectives.

  • Experiences of other hospice community volunteering programmes.

  • Available resources.

What type of support will volunteers provide & for how long?

Findings from the Analysis Report showed that volunteers provide a range of support to people with PEOLC needs and their families. There were three main types of support:

  • Practical support such as shopping, housework and collecting prescriptions.

  • Social support such as enabling people to enjoy hobbies and helping people stay connected to their community.

  • Emotional support such as sitting with people and supporting people in the last hours of life.

The majority of support is offered for as long as required by recipients. More details of the type of support and how referrals are made can be found in the Analysis Report Section 2 and case studies.


Other considerations:

  • Governance of the programme

  • Accountability for the programme

  • Whether the programme sits within the hospice structure.

  • Where does community volunteering sit within the organisational structure?


“Don’t expect to establish a fully functioning team quickly, it needs time to grow and evolve.”

Dorothy House, Case Study X