The programme aims to focus on the social aspect of end of life support, in recognition that compassionate support cannot be the responsibility of health and social care professionals alone and requires a response from the wider community.
In particular, it aims to build on some of the existing ways in which volunteers are improving the experience of people at the end of life and their families by reducing isolation, meeting emotional needs and maintaining a sense of connectedness to the community.
Examples of social action models include those that provide befriending, emotional support, peer support, practical support (eg providing transport, dog walking, gardening etc), enhancing naturally occurring support networks, or signposting those in need towards other services and support in the area.
The fund will be administered by Hospice UK, formerly known as Help the Hospices, on behalf of the Cabinet Office.
David Praill, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “Volunteers offer the human touch that is the hallmark of high quality end of life support, through the crucial practical and emotional support that they provide for dying people and their families.
“This fund will help increase the number of volunteers carrying out this vital activity, as well as supporting the growth of innovative partnerships and the development of new approaches to volunteering.
“Volunteers currently have an invaluable role in end of life support. This will become increasingly important in the future as we explore new and different ways we can support the growing number of people in the UK with chronic and complex conditions.”
The fund is open to applications from hospices, hospitals, care homes, UK registered charities, public bodies, social and community enterprises. Further information is available on the Hospice UK website.