Volunteering at our hospitals
Thank you for considering volunteering at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Volunteers are a valued part of our team and give us over 40,000 hours each year.
People volunteer for a variety of different reasons, some want to give something back to the hospital for the treatment they have received, or they may have recently retired and have some spare time. Perhaps you are interested in a career in the NHS and want to know what it’s like? However if this is so, you do need to understand that volunteering is not work experience – although undoubtedly it will improve your CV or personal statement , you will need to demonstrate that is helping others that is very important to you.
Each year more than 200 people give their time freely as a Bedford Hospital volunteer. We greatly value their individual contribution and appreciate the time they give to enhance and complement the care provided by our paid staff.
The Trust welcomes volunteer applications irrespective of gender, race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origins, marital status, disability, mental health problems, age or sexual orientation.
Contact the voluntary services department to request more information or register your interest in becoming a volunteer. You can call 01234 792213 or contact us via email.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does this take?
Ideally, the process involved in becoming a volunteer takes about eight weeks. However, this will depend on a number of things including the speed in which your occupational health and criminal record clearances come through as well as any paperwork we ask you to complete and return to us.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
A blouse, shirt or polo shirt is provided for most areas in which you can volunteer.
How old do I have to be?
We accept applications to become a volunteer from people aged 18 and over. There is no upper age limit for volunteering at Bedford Hospital. If you’re under 18 and looking for work experience, please visit the work experience pages.
I am a student who requires a placement as part of my course of study. Can you help?
If you are hoping to gain experience of working in a hospital environment, volunteering will not be suitable. Volunteers carry out a range of activities but rarely perform activities that staff are involved with. Volunteers are not allowed to be involved in clinical care. Instead you may wish to contact our NHS Professionals team on 01234 355122, for an opportunity to discuss temporary, paid employment which meets your needs.
You may also qualify to take part in our student involvement programme.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
Volunteering at Bedford Hospital provides a number of benefits including:
- Opportunities to meet people from all areas of the community
- Chance to use existing skills and gain new ones
- Meal allowance in our Swannery restaurant when working four hours or more in one shift
- Opportunities to attend volunteer-related events including team meetings and the volunteers forum
Do I have to attend any training?
Yes, there is an induction for all new volunteers which includes mandatory training on core topics. This will be arranged for you and will usually take place before you start (ideally while we’re waiting for your clearances).
Who looks after the volunteers?
The voluntary services department has a dedicated manager who is there to ensure things run smoothly and who is happy to talk to volunteers about any aspect of their placement, regardless of how long they’ve been there.
On a day-to-day basis, you will have a named contact, referred to as your assigned manager. This person will be a paid member of staff who works in the area you’ll be volunteering and is your point of contact for things like daily activities.
What if I don’t like my placement?
Once you’ve been offered a place to volunteer (your placement) you’ll have the opportunity for regular reviews with your assigned manager to discuss how things are working out. You can also come and see the voluntary services manager if you have any concerns or questions or would like to change your placement area. We greatly value and appreciate the time you’re willing to give us, so will always see how we can help.
How many hours do I have to give?
You can give as little or as much time as you are happy to give. In the first few months, we suggest starting off with a couple of hours a week to ease yourself in. It can also take several months to find your way around and get to know people so it’s worth bearing that in mind; ideally we’d like volunteers to stay at least six months.
Where can I volunteer within the hospital?
There are a number of opportunities within Bedford Hospital both working in the wards and in a variety of departments. Whether you’re looking to use or develop your skills or would like to meet and greet patients, we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Who are the volunteers?
Our volunteers represent many different areas of our local community, with a range of different backgrounds, skills and experience.
How long do I have to stay?
We want you to have a positive volunteering experience and we believe that every volunteer matters. Many of our volunteers have been with us a very long time and, ideally, we hope you will stay with us for at least six months.
Alternatively, you can write to:
Voluntary Services Department
Bedford MK42 9DJ
Or telephone 01234 792213 to speak to the Voluntary Services Manager.
Volunteering roles at the L&D
There are many different roles that you can become involved in:
- assisting at mealtimes
- helping on the Wards and in A&E
- meeting and greeting visitors on Main Reception and in the Macmillan Unit
- helping make teas and coffees for patients waiting for outpatients appointments
- helping admin staff with those time consuming little jobs
- visiting patients as a Chaplaincy Volunteer
- supporting the Pharmacy
These are just a few of the many things that you can do to offer your support – we have many other roles, and are committed to developing and expanding new opportunities.
What do we look for in a Volunteer?
- good communication skills
- a warm, friendly personality
- being comfortable approaching people to offer assistance
- reliability and commitment
What will you receive?
- training for the role
- the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends
- long service awards
- annual “thank you” party
How much time will I have to give?
We ask for a minimum of two to three hours a week and a commitment of six months or longer.
How do I become a Volunteer?
If you feel that you have the qualities we are looking for in our volunteers and you are over 18 years of age, please email the Voluntary Service Department telling us a little bit about yourself and why you wish to volunteer and we will send you our volunteer information booklet by return:
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are unable to email, call us on 01582 497384
All potential new volunteers will, of course, need to go through an application process very similar to our paid staff, which will include an interview, health screening, Disclosure and Barring Service check (if required) and two satisfactory references.
We look forward to hearing from you!