Step Up volunteer services in the NHS

How can our volunteer services help your hospital?

The pressure on NHS hospitals never lets up. With resources stretched, Trusts and Health Boards are exploring new ways volunteers can support staff and help improve patient experience.

But with funding scarce, resource for growing and maintaining excellent volunteer programmes can be hard to find. Royal Voluntary Service is here to support you. Our ‘Step Up’ programme provides hospitals with the volunteer-powered services you need and the funds to sustain them.

"We do everything we can to care for those who come into our emergency department and volunteers from Royal Voluntary Service enhance that service by chatting to patients, offering reassurance and company and practical help where needed. They are an important and valued part of our team."

David Monk, A&E Operations Manager at Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Volunteering in hospitals is rising to the top of the agenda

The potential for volunteering in the NHS is in the spotlight across Great Britain. In England, the NHS Long Term Plan includes a goal to double volunteer numbers in three years.

With volunteers on hand, patients feel less anxious, outcomes improve and staff appreciate the load off their shoulders. For example, our own discharge to home programme supporting older patients in Leicester, has reduced readmissions to hospital by a third.*

Read more about how we support Leicester City CCG

Our partnership with Helpforce is aligned with its ambition to better integrate volunteering into the fabric of the NHS: creating defined roles for trained volunteers, making them part of the planning process, supporting pilot schemes and sharing learnings.

Never replacing medical staff but easing pressure on them and improving the patient experience, the partnership will help develop innovative roles and grow the evidence base around volunteering.

Already a key strategic partner of other organisations such as Alzheimer’s Society, we can also work with other partners to arrive at the best outcome for you.

A unique and sustainable volunteer offer from Royal Voluntary Service

So how can we fund your volunteering?

Our iconic cafés, shops and trolley services already play a vital role serving patients, staff and visitors but we are now working with hospitals to use the money they raise to run a range of patient support services, from On Ward help to discharge assistance. This is possible because we are a non-profit making charity whose aim is to grow volunteering in the NHS and in the Community.

Volunteer services that are built to last

Examples of Trusts and Health Boards already funding patient support in this way include:

Hospital Trust/Health Board

Retail provision Volunteer service funded  
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHSFT
Shop, Café, Tea Bar and Trolley
On Ward service and On Ward dementia service including strength and balance

Find out more 

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Large Café/Shop and
Trolley service
Guiding & reception, On Ward services and Discharge lounge

NHS Grampian Café, Shop, Trolleys and Pop-up shop
On Ward service and Discharge service



















*Figures correct at the time of the study. An assessment by Oxford University of our Leicester service identified that we reduced admissions by over a third.

Support throughout the patient journey

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers are trained, reliable and fully supported by staff who manage the services that are carefully designed to drive the specific outcomes the NHS want to achieve.

Working with NHS Trusts and Health Boards

Royal Voluntary Service works in a unique way in partnership with NHS Trusts and Health Boards.

Step Up’ is being led by Sam Ward, our Director of Commissioned Services/Deputy Chief Executive. For more information about partnership working, get in touch below: 

Get in touch

Royal Voluntary Service supporting the NHS

Print this page or download a copy of Step Up - High impact volunteering throughout the patient journey, with funding built in.

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Royal Voluntary Service...

...is a national charity built on local volunteering, giving support to people who need it in hospitals and in our communities.

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