Update from RVS on NHS Volunteers referral routes for Community Hub

How to utilise volunteer army for vulnerable patients during coronavirus crisis

A simplified referral route for Local Resilience Forum

 Communities are rallying brilliantly to support the most vulnerable during the Coronavirus crisis.  It has been one of the most heartening themes to emerge since the pandemic took hold.

Royal Voluntary Service has seen this first hand in the development of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme (from NHS England and delivered by RVS)  which has attracted a great deal of attention, not least for the fact that 750,000 volunteers applied within 4 days.

Since going live last week (Tuesday 7 April), these volunteers have been on duty and fulfilling growing numbers of tasks.   They are eager and willing to help and the availability of this ‘army’ in every part of England, enables support to be confidently requested wherever the individual is who needs support.

We open for referrals from all the Local Resilience Forums in England to refer people into the scheme who are in the 1.5m shielded population or who they believe are vulnerable and at risk to Covid 19.  You can find a full list of criteria on our attached FAQ.   Having spoken to colleagues in Local Resilience Forums we are responding with a simple way of enabling referrals to NHS Volunteer Responders.  This is designed to make it easier and quicker to make multiple referrals.

How will volunteers be able to help those vulnerable to COVID 19?

 NHS Volunteer Responders offer simple but vital support while following guidance on helping people safely.

Community Response volunteer: volunteers to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for shielding patients.

  • Community Response volunteer Plus (Coming Soon): volunteers to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and or significant vulnerabilities who are shielding.

Patient Transport volunteer: volunteers to provide transport to patients who are ready for discharge and ensure that they are settled safely back into their homes.

NHS Transport volunteer: volunteers to transport equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. It may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery. This role can also help Local Resilience Networks with transportation and delivery of items such as food parcels.

Check in and Chat volunteer: volunteers to provide telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness


Where can I refer vulnerable patients for volunteer support?

We want to make the process as simple as possible for Local Resilience Forums to refer those you believe can benefit from the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.  Attached with this email you will see our ‘bulk emails template’.  Fill this in with those you want to receive support and NHS England will upload to the referrers’ portal on your behalf.

It must be send back to nhsvrpartners@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk


Please ensure:

  • You can only share personal data with us if you have a lawful reason. Please therefore only share personal data with us if you are sure that you have authority to do so.
  • Please put no more in the spreadsheet than the categories listed. Do not include any additional information outside these categories.
  • The spreadsheet asks for your confirmation as to whether each individual has a cognitive impairment or other significant vulnerability. This is so that we can direct the appropriately trained level of volunteer to the individual.
  • Please ensure appropriate security measure are used when returning the completed spreadsheet to us – e.g. use of encryption.

If you wish to fill in an individual referral you can do so here.  Goodsamapp.org/NHSreferral.


I need more volunteers for local schemes – can you help?

Local NHS Volunteer Responders may be able to support with additional volunteering so if you have a specific need for in your area we are inviting you to list your volunteer roles in the attached form.  We will then email these opportunities to local volunteers for them to consider.


 Further details of the scheme can be found at our website nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk and we have also prepared a tailored Frequently Asked Questions sheet for you which is attached to this email.

Many thanks for your interest in NHS Volunteer Responders.


With best wishes,

Rebecca Kennelly.

Director of Volunteering

Royal Voluntary Service