NHS and Care Volunteer Responders is urgently calling for people in Forest of Dean to sign up and volunteer to support vulnerable people in the local community, ensuring access to essentials such as groceries, prescriptions, and medical equipment.

The call for volunteers comes as the Volunteer Responders programme, delivered by Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app on behalf of the NHS and Department of Health and Social Care, expands to support even more people and communities across England.

Forest of Dean needs 100 volunteers to step forward to support as the Volunteer Responders programme recruits for two newly relaunched volunteer activities, Community Response and Pick Up and Deliver.

Through Community Response, volunteers collect and deliver food shopping, prescriptions and essential items to vulnerable people in the community helping to support their health and wellbeing.

Through Pick Up and Deliver, volunteers help transport medicines or small medical equipment items to people’s homes or community settings from NHS sites, helping to support hospital discharge and prevent admissions.

Volunteering is completely flexible and is managed through the GoodSAM smartphone app, allowing volunteers to make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people in their area, at times and locations that suit them.

Community Response and Pick Up and Deliver were initially launched during the pandemic to support shielding and isolated individuals. Countless volunteering heroes emerged, ready to serve, offering support to those most vulnerable.

Sam Ward, Deputy CEO of Royal Voluntary Service said: “Today, the need for volunteers remains as vital as ever. We are urgently, asking those who can, to provide support to their communities and volunteer.

“Just giving a couple of hours, at a time that suits you, can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of local people across Forest of Dean.”

Volunteers provide lifelines to vulnerable people in the community, ensuring access to fresh groceries, essential items, prescriptions and medical equipment for those facing health challenges, limited mobility, hospital waits, recent hospital discharge, and those struggling to shop unaided.

The roles aim to ease pressure on the health and social care system by providing additional support to help people in need.

By helping with these activities, volunteers will support the health and care sector and complement the existing workforce.

Volunteers do not replace the existing highly valued paid health and care staff or take on their roles and responsibilities.

The availability of tasks will depend on the demand in each area. Signing up for multiple volunteer activities increases the number of tasks received.

Recruitment is open for Community Response and Pick Up and Deliver now but the activities will begin in the coming weeks.

Those ready to make a real difference can visit the website for more details on the activities and how to sign up: nhscarevolunteerresponders.org

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with volunteers supporting the NHS, adult social care and thousands of vulnerable people in the community.

The charity delivers the NHS and Care Volunteer Responders programme for NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, enabled by the GoodSAM app, with volunteers responding to over 2.5 million requests for help to support approximately 200,000 people, and completing over 363,000 shifts at vaccination sites.

The charity also works in local communities running home libraries, companionship support, home from hospital services and patient transport.

Its Virtual Village Hall provides online activities and classes to promote wellbeing and keep people active.