Skip to main content

How we help

Since the NHS was formed, Royal Voluntary Service has been a key part of the care it provides.

Through support services like hospital shops, trolley services, on ward visits and help in getting home, our volunteers help hardworking NHS staff focus on giving each patient the care they deserve. Their care also supports patients and hospital visitors through a difficult time. 

By offering a helping hand when patients return home from hospital, our volunteers improve the likelihood that they’ll have a faster and longer-lasting recovery.


Find out about the support available in your area

Home from Hospital services, On Ward services and Patient Transport may be able to support you.

Home from Hospital

Most people are glad when their hospital stay is over, but it can still be difficult to readjust to life back home. There might be new medications to take, or physical therapy to do. And if friends or family can’t be there to help, it can be all too easy for a patient to end up being readmitted.

Working with NHS partners, our volunteers offer a Home from Hospital service for those with health issues coming back home after an illness, accident or surgery. They’ll provide the practical and emotional support patients need to get back on their feet.

Support begins while the patient is still in hospital, and continues with regular contacts for up to six weeks, making sure the client has everything they need to get back to a healthy, independent life as soon as they can.

On Ward services

A hospital stay is never easy, but our volunteers work on wards to make a patient’s time a little easier and to help them return home stronger and more quickly.

Our On Ward volunteers help by offering seated exercise to build strength and stamina, mental exercises to improve cognitive ability and practical advice about eating well and staying hydrated.

They also offer company outside visiting hours, chatting, reading or playing games with patients to help them deal with loneliness and make their stay a more comfortable one.

Patient Transport

Our volunteers provide friendly Patient Transport to and from essential appointments and hospital visits for people who might not be able to drive or access public transport, due to confidence or mobility issues.

They offer more than just a lift they provide company and support along the way and can also be on hand to help patients check in for appointments.

Other ways we support in hospitals

Hospital shops and cafés

If you’ve ever been a hospital patient or visitor, it’s very likely you’ll have visited one of our shops or cafés.

We’re one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers, with volunteers offering hot and cold drinks, healthy meals and treats, a warm welcome and a friendly face from behind counters across the country.

Profits from these shops and cafés help to fund our work in supporting the NHS.

Hospital trolley services

For patients who can’t make it to the hospital shop or café, we bring the service to them. Our volunteers are counting up thousands of steps a day, taking refreshments, reading materials, toiletries and healthy treats to wards all over the country.

More than just a retail service, our trolley volunteers are also there to offer a friendly face and a chance to chat, helping to ease some of the worries and loneliness a stay in hospital can create.

Meet & Greet

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers are on hand to welcome both patients and visitors to the hospital and help them find their way around.

The warm smile of a volunteer can take some of the anxiety out of navigating around an unfamiliar environment in what can be a stressful time.

Other ways we can help

We're here to support with a range of services to make things easier.

We support NHS Trusts and the wider integrated care system

Royal Voluntary Service works with local and national partners to provide flexible tailor-made service solutions in people's homes and in healthcare settings.