MPs praise ‘brilliant’ Helpforce in volunteer drive: Mail campaign gets the thumbs-up as report proposes raft of measures to keep Britons doing good deeds
- MPs have today praised the Daily Mail’s ‘brilliant’ Helpforce campaign in a study
- It has enrolled more than 30,000 readers to boost the numbers of NHS helpers
- The study suggested a raft of measures which could keep Britons volunteering
The Daily Mail’s Helpforce campaign has been praised by MPs as they propose a raft of measures to keep Britons volunteering.
Ministers should set up a ‘volunteer passport’ and incentives to maintain the huge levels of community involvement seen during the pandemic, a report suggests.
It hailed this paper’s ‘brilliant’ campaign, launched in 2018, which enrolled more than 30,000 readers to boost the number of NHS helpers.
Helpforce volunteers: The campaign saw 34,000 readers sign up to carry out support roles to free up NHS staff to do their vital work
MPs who compiled the study, published today, say a promotional pack should be sent to all school leavers, the recently retired and new UK citizens to encourage them to sign up for unpaid roles.
Peter Gibson, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration which compiled the study, said: ‘Millions of people volunteered for the first time during the pandemic.
‘Many of us wanted to do something to help others and to support the amazing work of the NHS.
‘Initiatives like the Daily Mail’s brilliant Helpforce campaign introduced thousands of new people to volunteering and many of them said they will volunteer again.
‘We need to capture that new community spirit and keep it going. Volunteering has so many benefits, giving people a new sense of connection to their community and introducing them to people they wouldn’t otherwise meet.’
Other recommendations in the report include setting up a UK-wide online volunteering platform, linking potential volunteers with organisations that need them.
The ‘volunteer passport’ would record each individual’s unpaid work and offer incentives.
Measures could include offering tax incentives to small and medium-sized businesses so that workers get time off to continue their volunteering work, it suggests.
All children and young people should also be given the opportunity to volunteer during their years in formal education, it adds.
One survey has shown an estimated 12.4million people in the UK offered help to their neighbours and community during the pandemic – 4.6million of whom were volunteering for the first time.
The committee heard that volunteering had created new connections between people of different ethnic, faith and social backgrounds.
Tory MP Peter Gibson, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration which compiled the study said there was a surge of volunteering during the pandemic
Tory MP Mr Gibson said: ‘The surge in volunteering was one of the positives to come out of the pandemic.
‘This new community spirit risks being lost as work and social patterns return to normal.
However, with support from the Government, businesses and civil society, we can seize this opportunity to transform volunteering – and in doing so help build more cohesive, connected communities.’
Helpforce saw 34,000 readers sign up to carry out support roles – helping to run reception desks, distributing refreshments to patients or as ‘hand holders’ in operating theatres, for example – freeing up NHS staff to do their vital work.
And in another major success, the Great British Spring Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy and supported by the Mail, has called on our army of loyal readers to make the country cleaner and greener.
During this year’s event a total of 217,000 volunteers pledged to clean more than 1,161,000 miles of the coast, countryside and streets.