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Making my day. Volunteering or working at a day centre for older people: findings of exploratory research in English day centres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177
Number of pages191
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Volume58
DOIs
Accepted/In press28 Mar 2021
Published9 Jun 2021

King's Authors

Abstract

Context: Day centres have long traditions in social care in the United Kingdom and internationally. In England, they are provided by a mix of organisations, are not regulated and there is no national representative body. Research mainly focuses on centre attenders and carers. Frontline staff and volunteer perspectives are rarely reported.

Objective: To highlight the role of day centre work and volunteering for individuals and inform recruitment and workforce development.

Methods: Qualitative interview data gathered from seven volunteers and ten staff at four English day centres for older people were thematically analysed. Data are drawn from three-year case study research investigating the role, outcomes and commissioning of day centres.

Findings: Paid or volunteer work in day centres has the potential to make unique contributions to people’s lives. Older volunteers and staff particularly value centres’ group environment and the continuity involved which contribute to person-centred relationships and role satisfaction. These experiences and satisfaction help explain why day centre staff retention is above average in social care.

Limitations: Although in diverse settings, this research was small-scale. Only high-quality centres may have participated. Methods may have unintentionally excluded volunteers with learning disabilities.

Implications: Within a context of problematic recruitment and retention and policy aspirations for community engagement and building on local assets, findings are relevant to workforce development and local recruitment strategies. Further research might explore what creates the working and volunteering culture within a centre and links between culture and outcomes, with a view to developing a model of day centre culture.

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