Strategic asset or optional extra?
: The impact of volunteers on hospice sustainability

  • Rosalind Scott

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology


    Volunteering is a vital and integral part of UK independent hospices. Volunteers were the founders of many, if not all, UK hospices. Today, hospices are still heavily dependent on volunteers to raise funds and undertake a wide range of roles which help to support the patients and their families. Trustees, who are seen very differently to volunteers, also work in a voluntary capacity on hospice Boards. In this role they are responsible for the governance of hospices, carrying significant legal responsibility and setting the strategic direction. Yet volunteering is often overlooked at a strategic level and there are barriers to involvement in key areas, such as care. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between volunteering and the future sustainability of UK independent hospices. This was carried out by developing and testing a theoretical model of organisational sustainability in adult and children’s hospices to explore how volunteering is understood by UK independent hospice senior staff, volunteers and trustees; to consider the influence of volunteers on four key organisational sustainability factors: governance; service delivery; hospice economy; and community engagement and explore whether there is a link between volunteering and hospice sustainability.. As this study had a strategic focus, the views of senior staff, trustees and volunteers were sought. Findings suggest that there is little understanding of the role of volunteers in governance, that there is a lack of planning for volunteer involvement and that volunteering has a strong influence on the sustainability of independent hospices. This is the first study of its kind and makes an original contribution to knowledge by producing evidence to demonstrate the relationship between hospice sustainability and volunteering. It has the potential to influence and develop thinking about volunteering in UK independent hospices
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDivya Jindal-Snape (Supervisor) & Gaye Manwaring (Supervisor)


    • Hospice
    • Volunteering
    • Hospice structure
    • Hospice development
    • Hospice volunteering

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