Volunteering FAQs

Who can apply to be a volunteer?

We understand that all individuals bring their own unique perspective and ideas which can positively shape our Volunteer Service. We welcome applications forms from anyone who is aged over 17.

Anyone under 17 (i.e. 14-16 years) can enquire about Work Experience, for more information please contact: workexperience@nbt.nhs.uk

Are there any minimum requirements in terms of commitment?

We ask volunteers to commit to a minimum of 3-4 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months.

We try to be flexible about what days and hours you do, you may need to fit into the ward or department routine.


What kinds of different things do volunteers do?

Please find our current opportunities on our homepage: Volunteering | North Bristol NHS Trust (nbt.nhs.uk)

What is the recruitment process?

The recruitment process usually takes around 2 months and depends upon applicants having a successful interview, completing all the necessary recruitment forms, supplying a satisfactory reference and obtaining a DBS certificate (police check).



Do I need any previous experience?

No, our volunteers have a passion for helping others, and enjoy listening and learning.

Do you provide training?

Yes. We hold bespoke Volunteer Training Days several times a year. This covers many aspects of working in a hospital including:

  • Fire training
  • Safeguarding
  • Infection Control
  • Health and Safety
  • Dementia Awareness amongst other topics.

We require all volunteers to attend a training day, or complete their modules through E Learning, before starting their voluntary placement if possible, or within two months of starting.

Why do people want to volunteer in a hospital?

There are many reasons:

  • Wanting to give something back – i.e. have some understanding of what it’s like to be a patient and the vital role volunteers play in supporting patients and staff.
  • Gain confidence, improve communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Interest in getting a job or career within the NHS and want to get some experience.
  • Need some relevant work experience in order to apply for a degree course (e.g. nursing, medicine, Speech Therapy, Midwifery, Nutrition) or other health related courses.
  • Learning new skills, enhancing your CV
  • The ‘feel good factor’ – knowing you are making a difference and having a positive impact.
  • Meet new people and make new friends

I want to volunteer at the weekends, is this possible?

Yes. We need volunteers 7 days a week. When your recruitment process is completed and you are ready to start, you will need to come in during the week for an induction session. This is arranged individually and needs to be done between 8.30am-4.30pm, Tuesday – Friday. If you are starting at the weekend it is best that you come in for induction towards the end of the week as close to your start date as possible.

I want to go into medicine/nursing, can I shadow the doctors or nurses?

No. However as a patient befriender you will have contact with patients and you will be in a clinical environment where you can gain an understanding of the way the ward works and who is who in terms of clinical and non-clinical roles. Your main duties will be to befriend our patients.

I would like to bring my car to the hospital, what is the situation with parking?

We encourage our volunteers to make healthy and sustainable travel choices whenever possible. Please find more information about this here: Staff Travel & Parking | North Bristol NHS Trust (nbt.nhs.uk)

If you need to drive your car to your volunteer shift you can apply for a parking permit. We can provide further information about this upon request.

What other benefits do you offer?

Anyone who volunteers each week for 4 hours or more is eligible to claim travel expenses and a meal voucher which can be spent in the staff restaurant.

What else can I expect?

We try to arrange a party for volunteers once or twice a year, e.g. at Christmas time. This is an opportunity to get together and celebrate your contribution and achievements and a chance for us to say Thank You!