Posted 24th Mar 2020
Why volunteer?

Many NHS organisations and charities need help from volunteers. This is a great way to get involved in the community. There are volunteer centres across the country, and many NHS trusts have volunteer managers you can contact if you want to find out about volunteer opportunities in your area.

Volunteer in health

Volunteers make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation, giving their time, skills and expertise freely each year to support the NHS. They are crucial to the NHS’s vision for the future of health and social care, as partners with, not substitutes for, skilled staff.

There are over 300 types of role in the NHS alone, allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to find challenging and rewarding opportunities which reflect their availability, ambitions and passions. Some opportunities, like hospital garden makeovers or fundraising, can be a one off. Others, like running a hospital radio show, assisting with administration in a hospice or contributing to advisory groups, can last for months or even years.

Get involved?

Interested in volunteering in health? Most opportunities in health are coordinated locally so you should visit the web pages of your local health organisations for more information on what opportunities are available.

For more information about volunteering in general and to find local opportunities you can visit or contact your local volunteer centre, or search via Alternatively, you can visit the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary organisations) web page ‘I want to volunteer’ for everything you need to know to get started or you can also search for volunteering opportunities in your local area on the Volunteering Matters web pages.

At your local hospital (Acute and Community)

There are many volunteering options in hospital settings such as ward and department volunteers, administrative support, fundraising, patient participation groups or Foundation trust governors. Each hospital is likely to have a range of differing volunteering options, coordinated by a Volunteer Service Manager. To make contact go to the hospital web-site and add/volunteer to the web address. Or type volunteer in the site’s search engine. You can find contact details for your local NHS organisations here. Some voluntary roles may also be advertised on NHS Jobs.

In the community and Primary Care (e.g. GP Surgeries)

There are a range opportunities to volunteer locally through local charities and voluntary sector organisations, and community groups. Some GP Practices can offer volunteer opportunities but the majority will direct you to local groups and organisations that they work with. There are also national organisations that provide health and care volunteering opportunities locally such as The British Red Cross and the Royal Voluntary Service.

Youth volunteering

Young people make valuable volunteers who can have a highly positive impact. Volunteering in local communities also provides many benefits for young people and their development. This includes building a sense of community, and developing a range of skills such as team working, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving, all of which are crucial for their success in higher education and the workplace.

The age at which organisations can accommodate younger volunteers (below 18) is set locally and not all organisations can take on volunteers under the age of 18. Step up to Serve provides information on opportunities for young people. Young people can also contact their local health organisations as above.
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