Case Study

Volunteer Centre Edinburgh (VCE) exists to inspire more people to volunteer so they can enhance their lives and the lives of others in their community.

Our Volunteer Hub in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (REH) is funded by a grant from the Health Foundation.  We support in-patients with serious mental health problems to volunteer. Many of the people we work with have spent long periods in institutional care and before volunteering had little/no contact with life outside hospital. People tell us that volunteering improves their health & wellbeing, builds their confidence and lets them develop new skills (or rediscover old ones).  Most importantly, it allows them to contribute to their local community.

“I feel valued for who I am, not something I’m used to”
“It’s good to help others”
“It saved my life”
“My dad is proud of me for the first time”

Since April 2013 our work has expanded to include the wider management of REH volunteers, assisting with a range of hospital activities: patients’ library, stress control services, ward musicians.

In applying for funds from ELHF we:

  • Followed the Health Foundation’s guidelines to ensure our proposal fitted the specified criteria and contributed to the Foundation’s strategic aims
  • Spoke with hospital staff (management and clinicians) and patients to ensure our proposal fitted with, and complemented, current services
  • Gathered evidence from all stakeholders to support the proposal.

The on-line application form is clear and easy to complete; acknowledgement of our application was received promptly.  Notification of our award was received by letter within the specified timescale, along with information on the payment schedule and procedures. Information about reporting was received by e-mail. This outlined the reporting timescales, and includes six month and final year reporting templates. Grant officers can be contacted by phone to answer questions or discuss any issues.