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Volunteering in hospitals

Volunteering in hospitalsRoyal Voluntary Service has been part of the NHS since its inception and we have partnered with HelpForce to scale up the number of volunteers embedded in the NHS. We provide a wide range of services and support in hospitals which free up  NHS staff time for patient care. Our thousands of hospital volunteers help improve older people’s experience in hospital, support their recovery and return home and reduce the chance of being re-admitted. We also run hospital welcome desks and are one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers, with over 230 volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services.

For the volunteer

Recent Royal Voluntary Service research found that across Great Britain, over two thirds (67%) of adults think volunteers have a vital role to play in supporting the NHS. Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to make new friends and work as part of a team. Many of our volunteers feel a sense of belonging and of being valued.

Volunteering in hospitals also provides a chance to learn new skills or maintain old ones - it’s no surprise that many of our volunteers have worked at the hospitals where they now volunteer. You may be working towards a qualification or need a stepping stone back into employment within the NHS/a health environment and want to gain valuable experience. Volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service will give you a chance for personal development and to help build your confidence.

For the patient

63 per cent of Britons agree that volunteers provide essential emotional support to patients when doctors and nurses are stretched for time. The help volunteers offer should not be underestimated - spending time to stop and chat can make a huge difference to a patient’s well-being, especially if they have no-one else to visit them or offer support. Many volunteers find the improvement that they see in hospital patients they support extremely rewarding. Royal Voluntary Service volunteers also provide respite from regular daily hospital life, a connection with the world outside and a friendly face.

For the hospital

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers work in hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales providing vital support to patients, staff and visitors 365 days a year. Many have a close association with their local hospital and by volunteering, feel they are giving something back after treatment they or a family member may have received there in the past. Follow the link below to find out more about our volunteers and how you can make a difference at your local hospital.

Hospital trolleys

Hospital trolleys

Go on, give us a push! Could you spare some time to do a ward round with our hospital trolley service?

Home from Hospital

Home from Hospital

Home from Hospital volunteers help support people as they leave hospital, get them home and continue to support them for a while.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or to find out more about volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service please contact us on 0330 555 0315 or email

Get in touch 

Real life stories

Find out more about volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service from the people who give their time to support people in need in hospital, in home and in the community.

Meet our volunteers 

What's in your area

If you know a family member, friend or neighbour who wants to get more involved their local community, find out how Royal Voluntary Service can help.

What we do

Make a donation to Royal Voluntary Service 

Your regular gift will help us provide more services, recruit more volunteers and strengthen our communities.

Set up a regular donation