There are many areas where you can volunteer. Volunteers must be over the age of 16.
As long as you are fit enough to undertake your role, there is no upper age limit.
Many volunteers arrange a regular day or time, and we also work on a rota system, so we can be flexible to accommodate our volunteers.
Our volunteers all say how rewarding the experience is and the free tea or coffee in the Friends Coffee Shop after their duty is a great way to meet new friends.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Friends Office by email or call 01225 824046, Monday – Thursday 9am – 5pm or Friday 9am – 12.30pm.
Volunteers help on the wards serving drinks to patients and providing a listening ear. By having time to give, it can make a big difference to a patient’s stay in hospital. It is a great way to help to the staff, and a smiling face is is particularly appreciated.
We need volunteers who are caring and have the ability to work with people.
Volunteers are needed 7 days a week mornings and afternoons for a couple of hours from either 9.30am or 2.30pm.
Lunch Time Helpers
The ‘Friends of the RUH’ realise how important it is for patients to eat their meals so that they receive the nutrients they need to aid recovery.
On a ward there may be several patients who need help at meal times. Volunteers assist patients on a one-to-one basis and we currently have a small team doing this. These people provide support by cutting up food and encouraging patients to eat as well as feeding them if necessary.
Training is held at various times of the year. You are assessed for suitability and then newcomers work with an experienced volunteer for the first few weeks. The training lasts for two 3-hour sessions and includes role play.
Feeding can be very rewarding and this role calls for caring and patient individuals.
Coffee Shop Volunteers
Volunteers work in teams of three or four, committing on average around three hours a week. The role involves serving behind the counter, clearing tables and operating the dishwasher, or in the kitchen preparing food. Volunteers are much needed at various times.
The Friends Hospital Shop is open seven days a week, providing a vital service for patients, visitors and staff.
This is a busy and friendly environment. Our patients, visitors and staff really appreciate being able to buy necessities while they are in hospital. The shop also raises a great deal of money towards paying for patient equipment and amenities.
Volunteers work for a three-hour shift, so it is a great way to meet new people.
‘Mini shop’ Trolley
This venture has been running for a year and has been a great success. The ‘mini shop’ is provided by our Friends Shop with a selection of newspapers and goods which are taken around the wards for patients to purchase. This provides an excellent service for those who are unable to leave the ward.
This new service is run by volunteers and has been gratefully received by both patients and staff.
From June 2014 the management of Maternity Services returned to the RUH from Great Western Hospitals. As a result the Friends of the RUH welcomed 30 volunteers who help out in the maternity ward. The team of volunteers help in many ways. There are two distinct roles on the ward; meeting and greeting and breast feeding support.
Meet and greet volunteers help on reception, serve drinks to patients and provide a listening ear.
The breast feeding support workers give important advice and support to new mums during their stay.
Rachel Horan, Clinical Team Lead Midwife says:
‘Nicki and Alli have worked so well today. We had a mattress audit on the ward today and they must have made at least 30+ beds as we are full. They were smiling throughout it and with it being so hot and the fact that they had to wear aprons they didn’t complain once! We would have been stuck if they hadn’t been here because we are so busy clinically. Their help was really appreciated.’
Accident and Emergency Volunteers
Volunteers help in various ways in the Emergency Department, giving directions to people as they come in – providing a drink to patients waiting, or listening quietly to those who need to talk. This can be a busy department and we need people who are calm and sensitive.
Volunteers act as guides on the Fracture Clinic taking patients to and from the Clinic to X-ray and other departments of the hospital as well as serving drinks to those waiting. If a patient is on crutches and finding it difficult to walk, having tea brought to them can really cheer them up.
Eye Clinic Volunteers
Volunteers help for a couple of hours a week serving drinks to patients on the clinic and having a chat. It can be quite a nervous time waiting for an eye examination or procedure, so having a friendly person to talk to and take your mind off things, can be a welcome distraction.
The many gardens and courtyards around the hospital offer patients a quiet and pleasant space.
Volunteers help to maintain these with practical tasks, such as mowing, watering, putting in bedding plants, keeping gardens free of litter, pruning and the usual garden chores.
The times are very flexible so if you enjoy the outdoors, the gardening team could be for you.
Our team of knitters-at-home make items such as bed jackets, blankets and socks for the elderly patients, which is especially appreciated on cold winter days. The Friends Office can provide knitting patterns.
We have a team of volunteers helping as guides throughout the Hospital, who are on duty in two shifts mornings and afternoons. The guides meet and greet patients and relatives at the main entrance.
In such a large complex as the Royal United Hospital it is easy to become lost, and guides will help people find where they need to go.
The guides are readily recognised by their official blue shirt or sash, so you can find them easily.
You do not need any specific skills except a friendly manner – though a good sense of direction always helps!
Patient feedback Team
The hospital uses hand-held devices, with questions for patients to answer regarding the quality of care they receive in hospital. Volunteers are needed to take these devices around to patients and to ask them questions and enter the details on the touch screen pad. Training will be given in how to use them and they really are easy to use.
By asking patients to share their experience it gives volunteers the opportunity to really talk to patients and engage with them as well as providing valuable information for the hospital to improve the level of patient care.
Volunteers serve drinks to patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy and will listen if patients or their relatives want to talk.
These Volunteers help fix hearing aids in the audiology department and without this they may have to be sent away to be fixed which increases the waiting time.
Many of our volunteers help out at our fundraising events, such as our annual Summer Fete. We also hold a winter raffle where we raise over £2500.
So if you are interested in learning fundraising skills please get involved. Or if you enjoy a fun day out please support us and come along.
Organising your own event
If you enjoy event planning then why not hold your own event such as a cake sale, or run the bath half Marathon for us. Let your imagination run wild!
Exciting plans are underway to provide a drop in facility in the Atrium for all unpaid family carers. Carers will have access to free information, advice, signposting and support. The service will be managed jointly by Carer Support Wiltshire, and B&NES Carers Centre.
The new Carers Hub will be staffed by volunteers who will receive full training and support. The role is extremely important because it will help carers to continue in their caring role which will aid discharge and help to prevent re-admission. We will be looking for volunteers who are able to commit to at least one half day a week and have an understanding of the needs of carers who may be experiencing a very stressful and anxious time.
We aim to ensure that volunteering is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.