Two words - THANK YOU.
The Trust has an amazing team of volunteers who enhance the services and support provided to our patients and visitors. The Trust really values the incredible gift of time that our volunteers give in so many different capacities across the hospital. If you would like to give some of your time to volunteering with us, please get in touch.
The Voluntary Services Department's main function is to ensure that the time and skills offered by volunteers are used in the most effective ways to enhance and complement the care given by paid staff to patients and visitors to the Trust, as well as ensuring the volunteers get a rewarding experience and feel valued for what they do.
Potential volunteers should be over 17 years of age and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 hours per week for a minimum of 12 months.
All volunteers are required to complete a Police Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) form and to satisfy the Trust’s personal identification and right-to-work checks along with a health check. This is necessary for everyone who works in this Trust.
The list of roles below is not exhaustive and we are always working with Trust staff and patients to identify new valuable roles for our volunteers but the main roles are:
Ward helpers and mealtime assistants - (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Tasks vary depending on the ward and types of patients but activities include assisting with practical tasks such as helping patients to fill in menu forms, helping to make beds, chatting to patients, and administrative tasks. If you volunteer around mealtimes, you can help serve trays, help prepare patients for mealtimes and encourage patients to eat their meals. In addition, if you go on an extra training course, you can help assist patients with feeding. This role is suitable to people wanting to engage more closely with patients and to help directly on the wards.
Emergency Department helpers - (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Volunteers support patients and staff in the Emergency Department. Volunteers take a refreshments trolley around to patients and serve hot and cold drinks. Volunteers also talk to patients and can help be a calming influence during a very stressful time. This role is suitable for those looking to work on a busy ward or to get experience of this type of environment for their future medical career.
Welcomers and meeters and greeters - (minimum time commitment three hours per week) Working in main reception areas, including the Berkshire Cancer Centre, and helping patients and other visitors to the Trust find their way around, either by directing or escorting them to their destination.
Hospital Buggy Service - (minimum time commitment four hours per week) Transporting patients within the Royal Berkshire Hospital in golf type buggies. They operate on level 2 of the hospital but the drivers will take you to the nearest lift/stairs should you need to access a ward or department on another floor. The main pick-up is main reception on level 2. Drivers need to have a valid UK driving licence.
Berkshire Cancer Centre – (minimum time commitment two hours per week depending on the role) Helping within the department as welcomers, as well as within the different charities, like the Macmillan Information Centre and ‘My Cancer My Choices’. It can also include helping with running some groups and workshops.
Survey Team - (minimum time commitment two hours per week). Carrying out ongoing surveys with patients and carers on behalf of the Trust to find out about their experiences. This is a flexible role in terms of timings and is valuable experience for future medical students.
Patient Leaders – (minimum commitment following the programme is 2 years) Working closely with the Trust to engage patients, their carers and families in the ongoing work of the Trust and its strategic direction. Patient Leaders get additional training to fulfil the role. More information can be found here.
Hospital Radio – (minimum commitment two hours per week) Supporting the radio service for the hospital including visiting wards to get requests then delivering live shows in the evenings and at weekends.
Medical Museum Supporting the museum for the benefit of the public. The museum is open on the first and third Sunday every month. Volunteering is on a rota basis.
Wheelchair collectors (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Collecting wheelchairs from around the hospital and returning them to collection points so they can be used by patients and visitors.
Chapel escorts - (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Assisting and accompanying patients in wheelchairs from wards so they can attend Sunday Services.
Compassionate companions - (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Providing companionship and support to patients, including understanding their spiritual needs with the guidance of our Spiritual Healthcare Team.
Royal Berkshire Charity (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Helping support the work of the Trust Charity, for example, administrative work in the office or promoting and organising fundraising activities. It might also include helping at specific events, such as Reading Half Marathon or Soapbox Challenge.
PAT dog scheme - (pets as therapy) (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Bringing dogs that are specially vetted and registered through this scheme to visit a variety of wards.
Patient actors - (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Helping support the training of new nurses by acting as a patient and following a brief.
Dressed for Dignity room helpers (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Sorting and organising clothes and keeping our Dressed for Dignity room tidy. This room is somewhere that patients can chose clean, donated day clothes if they have not got anything suitable in hospital with them.
We also work closely with the League of Friends who provide shops, cafes and confectionary trolleys in the hospital. If you are interested in volunteering with them, please see their website.
In addition to our regular volunteering activities, we are also starting to work with companies and other voluntary organisations on one off or different programmes and projects around the hospital, for example, painting, gardening, clearing etc. If you are interested in working with us on this or have some specific skills / expertise you want to offer, please get in touch on email@example.com
We also regularly receive donations of items which are used throughout the hospital, for example, knitted blankets, shawls and twiddle muffs for dementia patients, knitted traffic light baby hats, courtesy packs with soaps, tooth brushes etc for those who were not expecting to come into hospital, books, children’s activity packs etc. If you would like to donate anything, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in applying for any of the above positions please visit our careers and vacancies page and click on the relevant role to apply online.
Voluntary Services Department
NHS Foundation Trust
Level 2 Main Entrance
Reading RG1 5AN
0118 322 7061