Volunteering

We have a large and dedicated team of volunteers; almost 600 people regularly give time to volunteer at the hospitals in a variety of roles.

They make a huge contribution to all aspects of hospital life, from patient interaction to running the hospitals' shops and radio stations, and fundraising for extra equipment.

And it's not just patients and the organisation who benefit. Volunteering is a rewarding experience that can transform your life by providing a new focus, new skills, new friends and the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping other people.

We welcome volunteers from the age of 16 upwards (18 years old in A&E and Maternity): our youngest volunteer is just 16, our oldest is 94.

We have a variety of volunteer roles across our hospitals so, whatever your walk of life, skills or current situation, we hope to offer something for everyone. Volunteering really can change your life.

Volunteer information events

We regularly hold events to help people find out more about volunteer, and to kick-start the journey to becoming a volunteer. If you would like to know more about being a volunteer at our hospitals, including what kind of roles we have available and how you might be able to get involved, please register to attend one of our information events. The 2019 and 2020 dates can be found below.

Volunteering Information Events 2019-2020.docx [docx] 14KB

All events for St Helier Hospital take place in the Pink Room, main reception (ground floor B block).

All events for Epsom Hospital take place in Conference Room 1, Postgraduate Medical Centre (2nd floor F block).

Please note that we will be holding an additional information event specifically for student volunteers on Monday 29 April starting at 4pm (doors open from 3:45 and close at 4pm), to be held in Nonsuch Room 1 and 2, Education Centre, St Helier Hospital. This information event is for all students from 16 years and over who are thinking or are pursuing a career in Medicine and Health Services. Please contact our Volunteering Department on 01372 735079 or email esth.voluntary.services@nhs.net if you are interested in attending.

If you have any questions about volunteering or would like to find out more before attending an event, please contact our Volunteering Department on 01372 735079 or email esth.voluntary.services@nhs.net

Become a volunteer

After attending a volunteer information event or contacting the Volunteering Department to express interest in joining the volunteer team, the process to become a volunteer can be broken down into five steps:

Step one: initial meeting

This is an opportunity to discuss what you are looking for and what you would like to get from volunteering, so we can match the right opportunity to the right person.

Step two: application pack

You will need to complete:

  • An application form and provide two referees
  • An occupational health form, which asks some basic questions about your health.

Some of our volunteers have quite complex health conditions - this does not mean that they cannot volunteer.

Step three: DBS check and paperwork

If you are going to come into contact with patients, we will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS). This used to be known as a CRB check. This provides clearance for you to work with vulnerable people. A date to process the application for a DBS check will be arranged after your initial meeting. For more infomation and guidance on identification required, please visit the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website (opens in a new window).

You will be contacted once we have received satisfactory references, occupational health clearance and DBS clearance. This normally takes about six weeks though may, on occasion, be longer.

Step four: training

You will be invited to our next induction training morning where you will meet other new volunteers and receive training and information about volunteering.

Step five: placement

You are now ready to volunteer and a suitable placement, taking into account your area(s) of interest and the needs of the hospital, will be arranged with our Volunteering Manager. You will be given an ID badge that needs to be worn at all times while you are on site and a parking permit which will allow you to park in staff parking areas at no cost (we cannot guarantee that a space will always be available, however).

If you are going to be volunteering through the Volunteering Department, ie not with one of our volunteer groups, you will be invited to meet the staff in your placement area who will supervise you on a day-to-day basis. We recommend volunteering for at least six months in order to gain the most from the experience.

Volunteering roles and opportunities

Motivation to volunteer comes in all different forms – whether you’re looking to spend time giving back to the community, hoping to gain a confidence boost before returning to work, or an opportunity to use and develop your skills, volunteering at our hospitals could be a positive move.

Core volunteer roles

Wayfinding/Host Volunteer

  • Greet visitors to the hospital in a polite and friendly manner
  • Signposting visitors
  • Escorting patients and/or visitors to the relevant department
  • Engaging with patients and/or visitors around the hospital.

Dining Companion

  • Assist with serving meals and refreshments to patients; assist patients with opening packets, cutting up food
  • Spend time with patients 1-2-1, engaging them in conversation, providing social support and companionship. 

Mealtime Buddy

  • Assist with serving meals and refreshments to patients; assist patients with eating and drinking
  • Spend time with patients 1-2-1, engaging them in conversation, providing social support and companionship
  • Specialist training provided by Speech and Language Therapy and dietician.

Activities and Befriending Volunteer (also known as 'Ward volunteer')

  • Spend time and engage with identified patients
  • Involve patients in social interaction on a 1:1 and/or group basis
  • Encourage engagement in activities that are appropriate to patients’ abilities and interests (may include puzzles, games, quizzes and reading).

A&E Volunteer

  • Assist with serving refreshments to patients and visitors
  • Spend time with patients who are on their own
  • Greet and signpost visitors
  • Assist with completion of the Friends and Family Test
  • Volunteers in this riole must be aged 18+.

Patient Library Volunteer (currently Epsom Hospital only; expressions of interest for St Helier Hospital would also be welcome)

  • Visit inpatient wards to engage patients about the service, asking if they would like to borrow a book from the patient library
  • Access patient library to retrieve wanted books and return books that have been read
  • Catalogue new books for the patient library.

Mobile Patient Information Volunteer (Epsom Hospital only)

  • Trained DICE volunteers provide information on help at home, support for carers, benefits, transport and specialist organisations and equipment
  • Take the information trolley to designated wards and respond to telephone and email enquiries
  • Help maintain online resource
  • Monitoring supplies of leaflets and information available.

Fundraising Support - Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity 
 

Other opportunities may be available - please contact the Volunterering Department (01372 735079 or email esth.voluntary.services@nhs.net) to find out more and to talk to us about how you might be able to get involved!

Student volunteer programme

To access higher education courses students are advised to gain experience and demonstrate commitment to their chosen profession by volunteering. More importantly, it is an opportunity for aspiring medical professionals (usually those wishing to become doctors) to assess whether the profession is for them.

The Volunteering Department introduced the student volunteer programme in 2006 in response to several expressions of interest from students wishing to pursue a career in medicine. The programme differs from work experience, which is a short-term, shadowing exercise, as it offers a long-term volunteering opportunity alongside carefully selected training sessions.

The purpose of the student volunteer programme is to maximise the value received from volunteering by increasing students’ knowledge and awareness of patient needs, and to give students the opportunity to spend time in and gain experience of a clinical setting.

The programme typically starts in January and July each year, but we welcome expressions of interest at any time. For more information, including a detailed breakdown of the programme and how to apply, please contact our Volunteering Department on 01372 735079 or email esth.voluntary.services@nhs.net.

Our charities and support groups

Our hospitals are fortunate to receive support from a number of groups and charities, many of which also have opportunities for volunteers (such as fundraising, radio broadcasting, or volunteering in a shop or tea bar). 

The Volunteering Department can provide further information about these volunteering opportunities, or you can read more about our charities and support groups (opens in a new window), including how to contact them directly.

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