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Hospital volunteering: Supporting your NHS

Royal Voluntary Service has been supporting the NHS since it was created in 1948. Today, our volunteers quickly become members of the hospital team and are hugely appreciated by NHS staff and patients alike.

What will I do as a hospital volunteer?

There are a number of ways you can help as a volunteer in a hospital, from taking trolleys around wards to working in our shops or cafés or spending time with patients who don’t get much company. You can also provide vital support as patients return home from their stay and with your help, they could be less likely to return to hospital. 

Ultimately, you will be easing pressures on our NHS staff and you'll be making somebody’s visit a little more comfortable.  

We’ll make sure you have any extra training you need and will guide you through the whole process with plenty of support.

We help people find ways of using their individual skills, talents and time to support others. If you’d like to see some of the ways you can help in your local hospital, follow the link below.

Find hospital volunteer opportunities near me

Let’s take a look at the volunteering opportunities in your area and we’ll show you all the ways you can Play Your Part offer support in your local NHS.

How to find the right role for me

Think hospital volunteering is the right opportunity for you? We have plenty of roles available to you. There are several things to consider when finding the right role for you.

Can you be available at short notice? You'd make a great Emergency Response volunteer!

Do you have a clean driver's licence? Why not consider becoming a Patient Transport volunteer to hospital? Volunteer drivers for hospital appointments also socialise with and provide moral support to hospital visitors.

Are you a great listener and like to chat to people? You could volunteer on wards to help make people's hospital stays a little easier and more companionable.

Take a look at some of our available roles below to find the best fit for you.

We work with the NHS locally to support them however they need. This means that volunteering opportunities can change depending on where you live. 

Let’s take a closer look some of the roles we offer.

Hospital trolley volunteer

For those on the wards that can’t make it to the hospital shop, you’ll bring the shop to them. You’ll deliver newspapers, magazines, treats, snacks, and lots of little extras that provide welcome pick-me-ups. 

You’ll also be bringing a warm smile and a bit of friendly conversation, to help people through the long hospital day.

Hospital shop & café volunteers

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest hospital retailers with shops and cafés in hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales. But there is more to this role than retail. 

Your role here goes beyond offering snacks, drinks, newspapers and gifts. You’re also a point of contact and a friendly face for patients, visitors and hospital staff. You’re someone who can take the time to listen and chat in what can be, for many, a difficult or uncertain time.

Home from Hospital volunteer

Nobody wants to go home from hospital alone. Our Home from Hospital volunteers help people who live alone or need extra support, to settle back at home safely and comfortably after a hospital stay. 

You’ll provide practical help like stocking up on groceries or heating up the house, as well as emotional support to get them back on their feet and regain some independence. Once you’ve got to know them and have helped them to settle in, you’ll stay in touch regularly for a few weeks.

Your support will help them build confidence and independence that hopefully means they are less likely to return to hospital. 

Hospital On Ward volunteer

Not everyone in hospital is lucky enough to have regular visitors and it can be a lonely experience, especially when others are enjoying the company of family or friends. 

As a hospital On Ward volunteer you will make someone’s hospital stay a little easier. You’ll read together, chat, play games, take a walk or do some chair-based exercises. Your help with a little bit of mental and physical stimulation, where possible, can make a big difference to their recovery. 

You’ll be a real lifeline to someone who’s struggling for company and will be making hospital life a bit less lonely. 

Patient Transport volunteer

Patient Transport volunteers give people who might not be able to drive or access public transport an easy and comfortable way to get to hospital or to medical appointments. 

It doesn’t take much of your time and is a great way to make a difference to someone’s experience when they’re going into hospital. By giving someone a lift door-to-door and offering a little companionship along the way, you’ll be giving your passenger valuable peace of mind as a volunteer driver to hospital appointments.

Meet & Greet volunteer

In this important role you’ll be welcoming outpatients and visitors to the hospital and helping them to find their way around.

Going into hospital can be a disorienting experience and a warm welcome from you will be making people’s lives a little easier at a worrying time. What’s also important is that you’ll be taking a job off the busy hands of the hardworking hospital staff. 

Emergency Response volunteer

With ever increasing pressure remaining on our NHS and communities after the pandemic, volunteer support is needed now more than ever. This is particularly the case during the winter months. 

Emergency Response volunteers are on hand in the event of a crisis to step in and support local hospitals in time of need. This role is flexible which means you can fit volunteering in around availability and what you can do to help.

As an Emergency Response volunteer you could help out at a local hospital at one of our shops or cafés to ensure it remains open to support patients, staff and visitors or support someone who’s recovering from illness and needs a hand to get back on their feet.

Hospital volunteering for students

Volunteering at hospitals is a great way for students and young adults to give back to their local community. Our volunteer roles offer great flexibility, allowing you to fit your hours in around your academic schedule, your apprenticeship, or your job. If you want to meet new people and learn new skills, then we recommend becoming a student volunteer and helping out our NHS today.