This study sets out to explore how volunteering is implemented and delivered in the mixed economy of social care services for older people. Using an in-depth qualitative case study design, the study will map and explore the role of volunteers in a range of adult social care settings. The objectives of the study are to explore the following overarching questions:
• What roles do volunteers play in social care settings?
• What are the motivations of managers and/or coordinators in seeking the contributions of volunteers and what are the challenges and opportunities related to their involvement?
• How is volunteering perceived and experienced by volunteers and paid members of staff?
• How do older people perceive and experience volunteer involvement in social care?
• What can social care services learn from current practice with volunteers in older people's services?
The research will take place in the South West Region, which has the highest levels of volunteering, reported in the 2007 National Survey of Volunteering and Charitable Giving. A maximum of 8 organisations or settings will be invited to participate in the study to capture the different ways in which social care for older people is provided.