MPs praise Helpforce’s “brilliant” volunteer drive: Mail campaign gets thumbs up as report proposes a raft of measures to keep Britons doing good works

  • MPs today praised the Daily Mail’s Helpforce campaign in a study
  • It has enrolled more than 30,000 readers to boost the numbers of NHS helpers 
  • The study suggested that a number of measures could be taken to 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

The study was published today by MPs. They recommend that a promotional packet be sent to all school-leavers, newly retired citizens, and new UK citizens, to encourage them to take up unpaid positions.

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 include the establishment of an online volunteering platform that is accessible across the UK. This will allow potential volunteers to connect with organizations that require them.

The ‘volunteer passport’ would record each individual’s unpaid work and offer incentives.

It suggests that small and medium-sized businesses could be offered tax incentives so that employees have time to volunteer.

It states that all children and youth should be offered the chance to volunteer during their years of formal education.

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 from people who had volunteered that they felt that it had helped them to make new connections with people of different faiths, ethnicities, 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

Peter Gibson, Tory MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration that compiled the study, stated that there was an increase in 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 could be lost as social and work patterns return to their 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.

Another major success is the Great British Spring Clean, which was organized by Keep Britain Tidy with support from the Mail. It calls on our loyal readers to make the country cleaner, greener, and more beautiful.

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.