Awards initiative boosts volunteers

A scheme designed to recognise and reward the efforts of volunteer staff has
helped increase morale, motivation and communication at a Manchester hospice.

St Ann’s is the UK’s largest hospice, employing 320 paid staff and more than
700 volunteers to care for people with terminal illnesses.

The volunteers provide about 20,000 hours each year, worth around £5.6m, but
were often demoralised and only tended to stay in service for a short time.
However, a new initiative to give volunteers more recognition has led to
enquiries from hospices across Europe and a place on the shortlist at the
Charity Awards.

Support services manger Julie Foley said the scheme has increased
volunteers’ awareness of hospice issues, improved morale and made managers
better appreciate volunteers’ role.

"The volunteers feel more valued and are better informed about staff
roles and the organisation – vital to their work with patients and
visitors," she said.

The hospice set up an annual awards ceremony to reward long-serving
volunteers and introduced regular focus groups to discuss and improve the role.

St Ann’s also organised a series of informal events, which improved
communication and brought staff closer together.

"It’s working really well as a way of recognising the volunteers’
efforts. The volunteers are now seen as a greater part of the organisation and
it has helped retain them longer and attract more people," added Foley.

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