What is a volunteer?

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What is a volunteer? 

A volunteer is someone offering time, skills, or knowledge, freely and by choice, for no pay, to help others. Volunteers help in many ways. There are many roles, including response, clinical, befriending on the wards and supporting staff. Volunteering opportunities also include gardening, shop assistants and administrative areas.

Get involved. Give your time. Make a difference.

What volunteering opportunities are there?

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What volunteering opportunities are there? 

We have fantastic opportunities for those wishing to offer time to help others, or hoping to develop volunteering into a career. This is possible through our ‘volunteer to career pathway’ with NHFT or through the NHS Cadets programme.

Examples of volunteering roles available in health and social care in Northamptonshire are included in the links in this section. These will change and vary on the employer opportunities available at the time of interest so please do get in touch if you are interested. 

East Midlands Ambulance Service volunteer roles

Click on the link to view the volunteer roles available at East Midlands Ambulance Service, from community first responders, to volunteer car drivers and emergency services volunteers. 

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust volunteer roles 

Click on the link to find out more informaiton about volunteering at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust volunteer roles

Click on the link to view the volunteer roles available at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, from ward buddies, to bedside book club and more!

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust volunteer roles

Click on the link to view the volunteer roles available at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and find out how to get involved. 

St Andrew's Healthcare volunteer roles

Click on the link to view the volunteer roles available at St Andrew's Healthcare from befrienders, to charity shop assistants, patient activity volunters and more.

Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire are looking for young people in Northamptonshire between 11 to 24 years old who are keen to make a difference in health and social care and are interested in young people's rights and wellbeing.

What do I need to do to become a volunteer?

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What do I need to do to become a volunteer? 

Each health and care organisation in Northamptonshire has a volunteering programme and their website will include details of the process and commitment expected. Usually you must be 16+ and able to spare a couple of hours every week over a set period. For some roles you must be 18 years old. From there the process is simple:

  1. Find a role you’re interested in or contact us
  2. Fill out the organisations volunteer application form
  3. Meet the organisation staff member for an informal chat
  4. Complete a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check where appropriate
  5. Provide the organisation with contact details for references
  6. Complete any training needed for the volunteer role
  7. Sign a volunteer agreement
  8. Start your volunteering placement

Please note, each employer process may vary.

Contact us to find out more

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Contact us to find out more 

Our providers offer volunteering opportunities directly. We also offer opportunities with external providers in partnership with NHS or social care providers including:

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (NGH)

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH)

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT)

St Andrews Healthcare

Primary Care

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS)

Other partners:

Volunteering FAQs

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Volunteering FAQs

What skills do I need to become a volunteer?

You don't need any special skills. You must be able to volunteer time on a regular basis for the minimum period of your chosen role. You will be given all the training and must make sure you are well-equipped and ready.

What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer?

For me: There are so many benefits. It is a valuable experience. There is learning and development. You make a real difference and can socialise.

For patients: Volunteers present an external, non-medical link to the outside world for patients. For some, they are their only ‘visitors’ or means of socialising. The value you bring really is huge. Each patient will value different things about the interactions, your skills, personality, culture, interests etc. For some, you will make their day by just being present.

For the organisation: You will bring your own talents and skills to the role and in turn have positive effects on the organisation, its patients and staff.

Do I have to wear a uniform?

In some areas where uniform is required, yes. This is for many reasons: to protect your clothes, infection control and to be easily identified as one of the team.

I am a student that requires experience for my university application.

Your age, commitment needed and your profession of interest will decide where we are able to offer experience. It could be through a partnership programme, getting experience or volunteering. Please contact us for further information.

I have a paid job, can I still volunteer?

Yes, we will always try to find an opportunity that suits where we can.

How can I find volunteering opportunities?

You can search or contact any of the organisations included in our 'contact us' box  to discuss current roles. Check out our useful links box to see other opportunities.

Can I volunteer in the evening and/or at weekends?

Yes, if there is a role available with those time commitments.

Useful links

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Useful links

Please see below some useful links about volunteering in health and social care.

Getting experience

There are many different ways to get experience in the NHS, find out about them here. 

Get involved

Find out how you can get involved with St John Ambulance. 

NCVO - I want to volunteer

Find out more about volunteering here. 

NHS Volunteer Responders

Volunteer now to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

NHS Jobs

Find out what volunteering opportunities are available near you. 

Volunteering advice

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Additional information 

Volunteering advice 

You can learn more about our volunteer to career pathway or our NHS Cadets programme offer here. 

Being able to offer you advice and support, whether you are a student or parent or you are a career lead or manager, is important to us.

If you have any questions please do get in touch with us.

Contact us form

Response volunteer - example

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An example role of a response volunteer and what they would get involved in 

  • Greeting patients, staff or visitors on arrival.
  • Supporting ward staff by ensuring patients have water available and offering/making hot drinks where possible.
  • Accompany patients as and when required for further treatment such as X-ray.
  • The ability to physically mobilise independently to show people around the hospital and run errands using lifts and stairs.
  • Collecting medications from pharmacy.
  • Operating a book loan service.
  • Collecting/delivering messages or small items between departments.
  • Sitting and talking with patients.
  • Guiding visitors around the hospital.
  • Delivering video calls between patients and loved ones.
  • Assisting with temperature checking as visitors arrive at their appointments.

Clinical volunteer - example

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An example role of a clinical volunteer and what they would get involved in 

  • Spending time with patients providing a listening ear and engaging in friendly conversation as appropriate, demonstrate respect and sensitivity to all individuals.
  • Support with the upkeep of the clinic as appropriate including wiping surfaces and ensuring the patient information stations are tidy.
  • Helping to serve meals and drinks for patients as appropriate under the guidance and supervision of the ward staff (patient feeding training provided)
  • Support with the upkeep of the ward as appropriate, including keep patient bed areas tidy, assist with refilling water jugs and ensure information racks are tidy and up to date, replenish linen stocks.  
  • To accompany and escort patients to appointments/services as appropriate.  
  • To greet and chat with patients or visitors on arrival and during their stay providing a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. 

Administrative volunteer - example

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An example role of a administrative volunteer and what they would get involved in 

  • Supporting the ward, clinic or medical team to undertake a variety of administrative duties.
  • To undertake filing and photocopying as required.
  • To accurately input data entry using a variety of Trust IT systems.
  • Responding to enquiries and requests via email.
  • Answering the telephone and dealing with face to face enquiries and making calls as requested by the ward or clinic team.
  • Replenishing stock on the wards of surveys and information leaflets and ensure information racks are tidy and up to date.
  • To deal with incoming and outgoing post as appropriate.
  • To help organise and maintain office/clinic areas.

Join our volunteers at Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire!

Young Healthwatch and Shooting Stars Northamptonshire at Kettering General Hospital