A young man sat at a desk in a wheelchair. A nurse is sat opposite him,

We’re funding a new project encouraging young people from under-represented groups to volunteer, with aims of attracting new talent to the NHS from diverse backgrounds.

The problem

Volunteering for the young has never been more vital for a healthy society. However, many young people currently face barriers to volunteering that may seem insurmountable, especially individuals living with disabilities, ethnic minorities and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

To address this issue, Moorfields Eye Charity is supporting a dynamic new project for young Londoners.

The project plans to extend the reach of the hospital’s current volunteering opportunities to those in underrepresented groups. 

There is a particular focus on 16–18-year-olds joining our sister charity, Friends of Moorfields, and 11-16 years olds joining the Young Persons Advisory Group (YPAG).

As part of this, technologically adept young people will support older patients to access some services which are only offered digitally.

A young girl sat at a desk with a laptop in front of her. She has a notebook and her hands and is writing something in it.

Finding a solution

To encourage young people from these backgrounds to join our groups, we will remotely deliver digital workshops at secondary schools near the Moorfields sites across London and Bedford.

We will also reach out to young people directly in their schools to showcase the diversity of the NHS workforce and the variety of volunteering opportunities available to young people from any background.

This project will teach young people about the running of hospital services and clinical research, diverse staff roles, skills in digital volunteering and pathways to formal volunteering in local hospitals. 

Some young people who are already part of the YPAG will support this project by co-creating the digital workshops, and will also develop their interviewing, thematic analysis, and project management skills.

Those taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme will have access to flexible volunteering.

We hope that we will be able to reach young people from all communities and show them that volunteering in the NHS can be flexible, a good use of their digital skills, and is, above all, immensely rewarding.

Liam Bayes, project manager, Friends of Moorfields

The potential

We hope that this project will provide young people with the skills they need to move onto more formal volunteering roles in the future, including at Moorfields.

It will also aid in spreading awareness of important information about the sector to young people, such as:

  • The role of eye health in quality of life
  • The importance of accessing NHS services, such as free eye tests
  • The role of research in transforming the management of eye conditions
  • Volunteering opportunities for young people at Moorfields
  • NHS staff roles

NHS patients will meet young volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Their work will improve patients’ access to the Moorfields education app, other online information material and clinical & research services. 

Paediatric patients will benefit from clinical services and research projects that better meet their needs.

Additionally, the NHS will attract new talent that is more representative of the local population. 

Moorfields Eye Charity supports volunteering at Moorfields Eye Hospital thanks to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and match funding by NHS Charities Together.

Project Details

Funding scheme

Patient/​Public Involvement grant

Grant holder

Dr Annegret Dahlmann-Noor

Award level

£92,278

Start date

January 2022

Grant reference

GR001440