Referrer communications toolkit

This toolkit contains information about the volunteer services available to healthcare professionals.

Please use the content included to help spread awareness of these free services that are available to:

  • Healthcare professionals including discharge teams
  • GPs
  • Social prescribers
  • Community nurses
  • Virtual ward teams
  • Community pharmacy teams
  • Local Authority (multidisciplinary teams).  

About Volunteer Responders

Volunteer Responders is a flexible volunteering programme supporting the NHS and communities in England. The scheme is built on a digital platform and links an available pool of volunteers to local live tasks and prescheduled shifts via the GoodSAM app. It’s a quick and simple process to book a volunteer and you can sign up as a referrer in moments.

Volunteer activities are designed to support the NHS, improve people’s experience of healthcare and help improve patient outcomes. Volunteers do not undertake any staff duties, but complement existing work forces, allowing staff to focus on providing quality care to those who need it most.

Volunteer services available

Driving Support

Transportation of medication or small items of medical equipment to people at home from NHS sites, or between sites from a Pick Up and Deliver volunteer.

Driving Support Plus

Volunteers will be able to enter the home of the person receiving support to help with the delivery and home storage of medications and or medical devices.

Telephone Support

Check In and Chat telephone calls to people who may need a friendly chat and some encouragement to help improve their mental health and wellbeing. Calls will be with a different volunteer each time.

Companionship Calls to people who would benefit or prefer the continuity of speaking to the same volunteer. These can be arranged for up to 3 times a week for a 6 week period.

Community Response

Shopping and prescription deliveries

Help with a range of doorstep delivery activities including collecting and delivering shopping and essential items such as prescriptions from the pharmacy.

Community Response – Connect

Supporting people to access the community and take part in social activities such as going out for walks, help with accessing public transport and visiting loved ones in hospital or residential care.

In Home Support

Assisting people to engage in hobbies and pastimes in their home such as crafts, baking and gardening. Help with technology to so people remain in contact with their family and friends and offering companionship to people who have limited social interactions.

Site Support

Support for sites to improve patient experience or staff wellbeing including Stewarding and Ambulance support providing refreshments to crews at A & E bays.

A package of support for your patients

NHS teams can refer a person in for more than one service to make a suitable package of support. For example, if someone is being discharged from hospital or is at home being treated on a virtual ward, they may benefit from a medication drop off from a Pick Up and Deliver Volunteer and a friendly call from a Check In and Chat volunteer.


All volunteers go through ID or DBS checks that are proportionate for each activity before they commence volunteering. They also receive guidance on how to undertake each activity.

Volunteers are recruited and coordinated centrally. Expenses are paid by the programme.

Volunteering runs 7 days a week and has wrap-around support and assurance. There is a helpline, safeguarding team and problem-solving team available between 9am – 6pm every day.


Making a referral is quick and easy to do.


Call the Support Team on 0808 196 3382

Or book time with your Regional Relationship Manager.

Promoting the programme

If you would like to help spread awareness of these services to your colleagues, please see some suggested content in the sections on the left.

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Page last reviewed: 20 June 2024