Royal Voluntary Service hospital volunteers Hospital volunteers have responded generously to this month’s winter pressures hiatus with the offer to work extra hours at a number of NHS Trusts around the country.

The Royal Voluntary Service volunteers – who provide comfort and compassion to staff and patients through cafés, shops and their legendary ward trolleys - said they wanted to do more to help.

Since 22 January, our volunteers have been running extra rounds with their trolleys and providing free water and fruit to patients, visitors and staff teams alike.

Extra stops in A&E to relieve pressure points have ensured those facing longer-than-usual waiting times will be offered some refreshment.

"Having seen first-hand the winter pressures being faced by the NHS, our volunteers said they would like to do more for the people we support. So using the gift of volunteering that our teams are willing to offer, we have asked for them to give us and the NHS more of their time. This will allow Royal Voluntary Service to send out more trolleys, give faster service and just to be there with a smiling face to extend a hand of friendship to those who want it.

"We’ve asked our suppliers to help us and, thanks to their support, we will be able to give free bottles of water and fruit to anyone in 10 hospitals who needs it from our trolleys as they move around the hospital."

Kate Bull, Executive Director of Retail at Royal Voluntary Service

"We’re very grateful to Royal Voluntary Service volunteers for their kind thoughts and offer at this busy time. We’re sure our patients will appreciate the gesture."

Jackie Bene, Chief Executive of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

"It is so typical of our loyal and hardworking volunteers to go the extra mile when the pressure is on. We are extremely grateful to Royal Voluntary Service, all our volunteers and their suppliers and know their combined efforts are much appreciated by staff and patients at what has become an incredibly busy time for the hospital."

Cambridge University Hospitals Director of Workforce, David Wherrett

"Our volunteers make a huge contribution across the Trust and are very valued members of the team. During the winter months we do generally experience an increase in the number of patients that come into the hospital and because of this unfortunately some people will have to wait a little longer to be seen. Knowing that we have the support of our volunteers to offer refreshments and a smile makes a huge difference and we are so grateful for the time they give to the Trust and the positive impact that they have on our patients."

Melanie Johnson, Director of Nursing and Patient Experience at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

"Royal Voluntary Service has been supporting the NHS since it was founded nearly 70 years ago and we wanted to be able to do something to ease the current pressure. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response but essentially our volunteers wanted to do what they have always done and do so brilliantly; roll their sleeves up and pitch in to help."

Kate Bull

The fruit and water has been gifted by Royal Voluntary Service suppliers, Highland Spring, AF Blakemore and Brakes.

For further information

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

If you are a member of the press and have a media enquiry please contact the Media Team. For all other enquiries, contact us.