Click to view Emergency Department (A&E) waiting times
86 People
Number of people in A&E department
0:55 Hours
Average wait to be seen by a clinician
2:30 Hours
Average time in the department

Volunteer Roles

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.  You do not need formal qualifications: all we ask is that you are friendly, caring, approachable and reliable. Applications for volunteers are only open for the first two weeks of each month. You will be able to see which roles are open each month on this page. 

Sometimes there is confusion between volunteering and work experience. Volunteering is giving something back to the local community and/or learning new skills. Volunteering is a regular commitment over a longer period of time. Work experience is a one-off short-term structured programme where you are shadowing paid members of staff. 

Volunteer recruitment is open on alternate months for the first two weeks of that month.  If you are interested in volunteering with us, please keep an eye on our website to see if recruitment is open and also to find out which roles we are recruiting for.

All shortlisted applicants will be invited to a short interview and then, if successful, you will be required to complete the same recruitment checks as paid staff members. Recruitment checks include:

  • ID check
  • Disclosure and Baring Service check (Criminal records)
  • Occupational Health check
  • Two references

Once all checks are completed, volunteers are required to complete the Trust’s volunteer induction, mandatory training and any role specific training that is required before commencement of their voluntary role.

If you would like to speak to a member of the voluntary services team, please contact us at:

Or call Sukhi Sidhu on 0118 322 8396 or Karen Kendall on 0118 322 7061.

Volunteering Roles

We have a range of opportunities available. 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.

Volunteer recruitment is now currently closed and will re-open again in the first two weeks of July. We will advertise all available roles in July. In the meantime, please take a look at the volunteer role descriptions on our website and check to see if you are available at the required time of the role(s) you are interested in.

Administration Support

We are always looking for behind the scenes support in a number of different roles which might include data-input, tidying up equipment or administrative support.  Minimum time commitment would be 2 hours per week and depending on the role, you can work remotely, flexibly or be committed to a morning or afternoon session at the hospital site.  Training would be provided for each role. This role is suitable for people who like administrative tasks and have IT skills.

(minimum time commitment 2 hours per week)

Berkshire Cancer Centre

Welcoming patients and visitors into the Berkshire Cancer Centre (at the Royal Berkshire Hospital site) and providing assistance with directions. This role is very similar to the volunteer welcomers, meeters and greeter’s role, where you provide a friendly face to visitors and patients to help them feel welcome and comfortable. You will need to have excellent communication skills and enjoy talking to people.

(AM and PM shifts from Monday to Friday, minimum time commitment 3 hrs per week) 

Bracknell Healthspace

Our Bracknell volunteers help in either the renal unit, the chemo ward or on the welcome desk. Volunteers in the renal unit and chemo ward help with teas/coffees/lunches, cleaning chairs, stocking trollies, talking to patients and/or help with triaging. Volunteers on the welcome desk help with directions and collecting wheelchairs for those patients who require them. All of the roles at Bracknell are suitable for people wanting to engage more closely with patients.

(minimum time commitment 4 hours per week during the week plus the choice of Saturday midday for our Renal Unit) 

Care Crew Helpers

Our Care Crew team provide a flexible, client centred programme of therapeutic activities for individuals and groups of patients predominantly within elderly care. Our Care Crew helpers provide support to the team with art and craft sessions, patient engagement activities and also reminiscence sessions. This role is suitable for people who want to engage closely with our older patients.

(minimum time commitment 2 hours per week in the afternoons during the weekday from 2-4pm) 

Community Helpers

We require drivers to pick up medical equipment from the hospital and take it to patient’s homes and vice-versa. Areas covered are Reading, Wokingham, Newbury, Henley, Pangbourne etc. You will be using your own vehicle and can be reimbursed for fuel costs based on your mileage. Community drivers are required on an ad-hoc basis as the need arises and there is no regular weekly time commitment. You will need to feel comfortable collecting and dropping items off at patient’s homes.

Compassionate Companions

We are looking for volunteers who can support patients who are at the end of their life who are alone and at their most vulnerable. The role involves being beside patients, listening deeply, being sensitive to their needs and offering your reassuring presence while acting as part of the wider ward team. No previous experience is required as initial training and ongoing support is provided.

Volunteers for this role will need to be 21 years of age or over, caring, good listeners, reflective and demonstrate a sensitivity to the needs of the patient and staff team. If you would like to become a compassionate companion, contact: or call 0118 322 8763 / 7105.

(minimum time commitment 3 hours per week with flexibility)

Emergency Department Helpers

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.  Training will be provided and volunteers work in pairs.  This role is suitable for those looking to work on a busy ward. Shifts can be at any time of the day, seven days a week to fit in with your regular availability.

(minimum time commitment 2 hours per week) 


We require gardeners to help maintain the various therapy gardens around the Royal Berkshire Hospital site. Therapy gardens are used by many of our patients and staff. You will help with pruning, weeding, planting, keeping borders trim and general garden tidying plus there may be opportunity for a friendly chat with patients and staff. Gardening experience would be ideal however, as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty then we welcome anyone who wants to develop their green fingers. Gardeners are required on an ad-hoc basis, but we have a particular need for gardeners during the warmer months. We like to see a regular weekly commitment during the warmer months.  

(minimum time commitment 2-4 hrs per week mainly during the warmer months.  Shifts are available during the week and also at the weekends) 

Hospital Buggy Service

Transporting patients within the Royal Berkshire Hospital in golf-type buggies. Our hospital buggies operate on level 2 of the hospital and take patients to their appointments. Our driver’s take patients to the nearest lift/stairs should they need to access a ward or department on a different floor. Drivers need to have a valid UK driving license.

(minimum time commitment 4 hours per week, morning and afternoon sessions from Monday to Friday) 

Hospital Radio

Providing and supporting the radio service for the hospital including visiting wards to get music requests from patients then delivering live shows in the afternoons, evenings and at weekends. There is more information on the Hospital Radio Reading page. For further information, please contact the radio chairman, Gerard Rocks on

Library Support

Supporting the Library and Knowledge Services team, we are looking for volunteers to help with marketing and running of events (i.e. shared reading, reviewing stock, signposting resources, supporting staff using the facilities with where to find items or using the computers). The service brings different opportunities daily.  If you have an eye for detail this is a suitable post for you.

(Minimum commitment 2-4 hours per week during the week Monday to Friday)  

Maternity Door Support

This role is available seven days a week and you would need to commit to a minimum of one session per week. Our maternity door volunteers are stationed on the reception desk on level 4 of the maternity block and provide a warm welcome to all visitors. Duties will include allowing visitors onto the ward via the intercom and providing assistance with directions or refreshments. Volunteers need to be comfortable with using a phone/intercom.

(minimum commitment 2 hours per week, from 4-6pm) 

Meet PEET Community Event Volunteer

We are looking for volunteers to help at our community Meet PEET (Patient Experience Engagement Team) health clinic events which are held during the week and weekends in and around the Reading area. Our specialist nurses complete NHS checks (eg. Blood pressure, cholesterol, heights and weight) on members of the public and then provide tailored advice and support to help those, particularly those who suffer from health inequalities, to live healthier lives and prevent future illness.

Our volunteers help with managing queues, help people to register on the digital health check platform, help with height measurements, encourage people to have a health check and help with set-up and packing-up.  This is a great opportunity for anyone who would like to volunteer in the local community working alongside health professionals, making a difference in supporting individuals to help improve their health. This role provides great flexibility in that you can pick and choose which events you would like to help at. Minimum time commitment is 4 hrs per session at least 4 times per month. Travel expenses can be reimbursed.

(minimum time commitment is 4 sessions per month)  

Medical Museum

Supporting the museum for the benefit of the public. The museum is open on the first and third Sunday of every month from 2.00 till 4.30pm. Volunteering is on a rota basis. Volunteers welcome visitors and show them the general layout of the museum. No medical knowledge is required.  

There's more information on the Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre Facebook page. This role is particularly suited to people who want to do less frequent volunteering and the option to combine this with another role such as gardening will be available.  

(minimum commitment one session every two to three months on a Sunday) 

Patient Actors

Helping support the development of internationally educated nurses, enabling them to register in the UK, by acting as a patient and following a scenario. You don’t need to be a professional actor, just to be able to empathise and relay a character to the nurse who is being assessed. The dates and times for these sessions are 8am to 12.30pm and/or 12.30pm to 3.30pm and are organised by our Practice Development Team.

(minimum time commitment 8-12 hours per month/4 sessions per month) 

Patient Experience Befriending Service

Befrienders are valuable volunteers who visit different wards at the Royal Berkshire Hospital each week to spend time with patients. The role involves supporting patients by offering them company during their stay and signposting them to Befriending services in the community for when they leave hospital, if appropriate. This role is suitable for people who want to work on the wards with direct patient contact. You will need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. For further information about this role, please contact the Patient Experience Team on or call on 0118 322 7446.

(Minimum time commitment 2 hours per week at a time of day that suits you, including weekends) 

Patient Leaders

Patient Leaders work closely with Trust staff on a wide variety of projects representing the views of patients and their carers. Patient Leaders are provided with training to enable them to fulfil the role. More information can be found on our Patient Involvement page.

Pharmacy Runners

Taking medicines from the Pharmacy to the wards and helping with other jobs around the Pharmacy department. This role requires the volunteer to be physically fit, as there is a lot of walking back and forth to the wards across the Royal Berkshire Hospital site.

(This role is available during the week and you would need to commit to one full day starting from 10am until approximately 5pm) 

Royal Berks Charity

Helping support the work of the Trust Charity, for example, administrative work in the office or promoting and helping to organise fundraising activities. It might also include helping at specific events, such as Reading Half Marathon, or acting as a representative of the Charity at events where they need speakers.

(minimum time commitment 2 hours per week) 

Ward Helpers and Mealtime Assistants

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), 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.  You will need to have excellent communication skills and enjoy talking to people. We are in particular need for ward helpers during the week from Monday to Friday.

(minimum time commitment 2 hours per week) 

Welcomers, Meeters and Greeters

Working in our welcoming areas, in the centre of the hospital, in South Block or North Block. Volunteers help patients and other visitors to the Trust find their way around, either by directing or escorting them to their destination. Our meeters and greeters provide a friendly face to visitors of the hospital helping them feel welcome and comfortable.

(minimum time commitment 3 hours per week, Monday to Friday either morning or afternoon sessions) 

Wheelchair Collectors

Collecting wheelchairs from around the hospital and returning them to collection points, so they can be used by patients and visitors. This role would suit someone who is physically fit as it involves a lot of walking. This role also involves giving direction to patients and visitors whilst you walk around the hospital site.  

(This role is available seven days a week and you would need to commit to a minimum of 2 hours per week)