Planning a programme

One of the key decisions will be the type of community volunteering programme.
A group of diverse volunteers place their hands in the middle of a group circle.

In the Analysis Report, the majority of 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 of volunteer led.

However, despite many organisations describing very structured community volunteering programmes, a number of hospices were moving away from this model to 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 
  • Organisational culture
  • Level of trust in and empowerment of volunteers
  • Organisational attitude to risk
  • Level of support from trustees and senior staff 
  • Charitable objectives
  • Experiences of other hospice community volunteering programmes
  • Available resources

Other considerations may include

  • Governance of the programme
  • Accountability for the programme - hospice/community/both?
  • Does the programme sit within the hospice structure?
  • If so 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. First 18 months to establish the foundation, second 18 months to embed and develop to the needs of the organisation/patients.” (Dorothy House, Case Study X)

What does hospice care mean to you?