Skip to main content

Volunteering

Volunteers are a valued and essential part of our team at Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Volunteers help enhance the services and care we provide by adding an extra layer of support and comfort to our patients and visitors. 

Our team of amazing volunteers come from all walks of life with a common goal of helping others. Volunteers who join our team do so for a variety of reasons including a desire to help others, to give back to the NHS after a personal experience, as a way to fill their spare time or to get experience for a future career.

We are always looking for new volunteers to work in the Trust and we have a range of opportunities available. Our volunteers work from a range of different locations including our main site at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Bracknell Healthspace and in the community.

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 but the main roles are:

Bracknell Health Space Volunteers:  (minimum time commitment four hours per week) If you live in Bracknell or the surrounding area, you might be interested in helping out at the Bracknell Health Space. We currently have availability on the Renal Unit, for example, helping to make refreshments for patients undergoing dialysis, tidy up the ward area and helping make beds. We also have availability on the Welcome Desk there, helping direct patients to the various clinics and showing them around the Health Space. These posts are suitable for people wanting to engage more closely with patients.

Care Crew Helpers: (minimum time commitment two hours per week) supporting our Care Crew (who are a mobile unit on the Elderly Care Wards) run sessions with elderly patients. These might include crafts or reminiscence activities. The Care Crew run morning and afternoon sessions week days. This role is suitable for people wanting to engage closely with patients, particularly on the elderly care wards and who are available during the daytime on week days.

Community Drivers:  We require drivers to pick up medical equipment from the hospital and take it to the patient’s home and vice-versa (collect equipment from patient’s home and return it to the hospital).  Areas covered are Reading, Wokingham, Newbury, Henley, Pangbourne etc.  You will be using your own vehicle and will be reimbursed for petrol 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.

Compassionate Companions: (minimum time commitment three hours per week with flexibility). We are looking for volunteers that can support end of life patients 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 whilst 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 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: Compassionate.Companions@royalberkshire.nhs.uk or call 0118 322 8763 / 7105

Covid Specific Roles: (minimum time commitment two hours per week) supporting safe patient and visitor entry to the hospital.  We have number of roles that have been created due to the Covid pandemic and these include temperature checking at the Berkshire Cancer Centre, Maternity door support providing safe access to two maternity wards, Covid information desk which includes handing out face-masks and also providing directions and guidance to patients and visitors of the hospital.  These roles are vital whilst we learn to live with Covid.

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.  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.

Gardeners:  We require gardeners to help maintain the various gardens around the Royal Berkshire Hospital site.  You will help with pruning, weeding, planting, keeping borders trim and general garden tidy-up and possibly paint the odd bench or two.  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 as the need arises and there is no regular weekly time commitment.

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.

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. There is more information about the Radio here. You can apply directly with them by contacting their chairman.

In-Patient 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 role would suit those who want to engage more closely with patients but also see different wards around the Hospital.

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. You can find out more information about the Museum here.

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. The dates and times for these sessions vary depending on when actors are required but are usually on weekdays during the daytime. This is organised by our Trust Education Team.

Patient Leaders:  Patient leaders work closely with Trust staff 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 here.

Pharmacy Runners: (minimum time commitment two hours per week) Taking medicines from the Pharmacy around to the wards and helping with other jobs around the Pharmacy department. This role requires the volunteer to be quite physically fit as there is a lot of walking back and forth to the wards across our large site. This role is required during the morning weekdays.

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 acting as a representative of the Charity at events where they need speakers.  More information can be found here.

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, 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.

Welcomers, Meeters and Greeters:  (minimum time commitment three hours per week) Working in our welcoming areas, in the centre of the Hospital and in South Block near our outpatients areas. 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 making them feel welcome and comfortable.

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. This role is particularly needed on weekdays during clinic times. This role would suit someone who was physically fit as it involves a lot of walking. We would particularly welcome volunteers who are able to provide this service first thing in the morning.

The Trust really appreciates the help we receive from our wider community. We know that in addition to our regular volunteers, there are lots of organisations that are keen to support us through one-off volunteering days or by working more closely on secondments and longer-term volunteering.

We are starting to work with a number of organisations to create these types of opportunities. We are keen to find the right balance between fulfilling opportunities for individuals and companies and activities that will really help benefit the Trust, so we are looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals and groups to work with us on a number of opportunities. The types of activities we have created so far include:

  • Small groups volunteering for a day, eg wrapping/delivering Christmas presents
  • Groups helping with gardening projects / murals etc.
  • Groups helping with events, eg our Royal Berks Charity fundraising events
  • Individuals offering to use their skills for specific projects or to undertake secondments with us, eg IT experts developing a website

We are continually creating volunteering opportunities you might be able to get involved with, so even if there is nothing available now, we will keep your details and contact you when things are available.

If you are interested in corporate volunteering, then please do get in touch and let us know the type of project you might be able to help with, the number of volunteers you would like to provide and if there are any specific skills you can offer.

Depending on the type of volunteering you get involved with, you may be subject to our Trust recruitment checks, eg DBS and occupational health.

If you are interested in corporate volunteering, please get in touch by contacting voluntary.services@royalberkshire.nhs.uk or 0118 322 8396.

Please also take a look at our Royal Berks Charity fundraising page for other ways to get involved.

In the corridors of Royal Berkshire Hospital, we display various art exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions create a changing backdrop to a busy hospital environment giving our patients, visitors and staff something to look at and think about while they are with us.  We aim to improve and enrich the visual environment for our patients, visitors and staff for a positive effect.

Artwork in hospitals can offer a moment of calm, emotional support or hope to those facing a difficult time. Lots of people are anxious when visiting the hospital and studies have shown that art can help us to stay well, aid our recovery from injury or illness, distract us from our worries, as well as lifting our spirits. The practice of decorating hospitals with paintings, sculptures and murals has a long history dating back to the mid twentieth century and we are grateful here at Royal Berkshire Hospital to have a total of 22 art exhibition boards placed at various points throughout our main hospital site. 

Our artwork aims to:

  • Make the hospital a nicer place to visit
  • Help people get through some very difficult times
  • Build links with our communities and art organisations
  • Generate funds for our hospital through the sale of art

Artists can exhibit for free throughout the year and all we ask is that a donation of 25% of any sales are made to the Voluntary Services Fund. This fund is used for patient experience projects so that we can continually improve the patient experience. Artists are normally booked at around autumn time for the following year however, if you are interested in exhibiting, then please get in touch at any time during the year to find out more.

If you would like to get involved in any art exhibitions including sculptures, murals or donations, please get in touch at: Voluntary.services@royalberkshire.nhs.uk

We are truly humbled by the generosity of individuals, groups and organisations that have continued to support us at Royal Berkshire Hospital with their outpouring of donations that have enabled us to provide a better service of care to our patients and their families. 

We welcome all donations in particular items listed below (we have some patterns to knitted items, and please feel free to ask for more patterns or you are more than welcome to use your own patterns):

  • Patient wash packs with toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, soaps (for those who were not expecting to come into hospital)
  • Snooze packs (with eye masks / ear plugs) to make sleeping on a noisy ward easier
  • Dress for Dignity: new or nearly new clothes for patients who weren’t expecting to stay in hospital and require a change of clothes, to get patients up and dressed out of their pyjamas, for those who have come in as an emergency
  • Amazon Wish List: ( https://www.royalberkscharity.co.uk/new-appeal/ )

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/3AI78JXAUPU9Z?ref_=wl_share 

  • Quilts and blankets (non-knitted) for our end of life patients (link to pattern)
  • Knitted teddies/dolls for patients (link to pattern)
  • Knitted hearts (in particular red ones) (link to pattern)
  • Knitted dementia wrist bands (light blue forget-me-not flower on blue band) (link)
  • Knitted dementia dolls (link)
  • Knitted blankets / shawls (link to pattern)
  • Books
  • Children’s activity packs
  • Gifts - we can sell items such jewellery, toiletries, unwanted gifts

Receiving a teddy/doll brings great comfort for some of our patients. 

Quilts and blankets are used by different departments across the hospital to provide a sense of home comfort to our patients.  These items make a big difference to patients and their families at what can be a very difficult time. 

If you would like to donate anything please contact us at: voluntary.services@royalberkshire.nhs.uk 

Donations can either be brought in person or posted to us at:

Voluntary Services Department

Level 2, Main Reception

Royal Berkshire Hospital

Craven Road

Reading Berkshire RG1 5LE

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. 

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. 

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please complete this short application form (volunteer application form.) and email it back to our Voluntary Services Team at voluntary.services@royalberkshire.nhs.ukAll shortlisted applicants will be invited to a short interview and then, if successful, 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:

voluntary.services@royalberkshire.nhs.uk

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

Back to top