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Voluntary Services

Voluntary Services

Volunteering at Bradford Teaching Hospitals (BTHFT)

BTHFT has an active volunteering community which continues to grow significantly. There are currently well over 500 people who give their time freely to help patients, staff and visitors at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital. On average, each volunteer donates 4 hours of their time each week - a total of 104,000 hours each year! At BTHFT we welcome volunteers from all abilities, backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Volunteers provide an invaluable service through a variety of support services and activities and they make a huge difference to the care that our patients receive and the experience they may have, whilst in hospital.
Our volunteers offer a tremendous contribution in support of patients and staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), St Luke’s Hospital (SLH) and at our Community Hospitals (Eccleshill, Westbourne Green, Westwood Park and F3 at SLH).These web pages are intended to provide you with as much information as possible about the volunteer opportunities available at BTHFT and how to apply.

Why volunteer?

  • To meet new people and make new friends.
  • To keep busy and do something rewarding and useful
  • To give something back
  • To help with recovery after illness or bereavement.
  • To learn new skills
  • To gain experience in healthcare
  • To take a first step towards preparation for employment.
  • To help gain entry into university or college
  • To have lots of fun!

What can volunteers do?   

For information on the volunteer roles available click here to open up our information leaflet 

Who can apply to be a volunteer?

People aged 17 and over can apply to become a volunteer. There is no upper age limit.
At BTHFT, we welcome people with disabilities and people from all cultures and backgrounds. We don't ask for qualifications - all that we ask is that applicants are fit and well enough to undertake the volunteer role of their choice and that they have a genuine interest in helping others.

Volunteering for people aged 25 years and over

 People aged 25 years and over tend to be the volunteers who  stay with us  on a long term basis (i.e. for over 12 months).  Mature volunteers are the  foundation upon which we have built  our Voluntary Service and they  derive from a diverse community,  bringing a wealth of knowledge and skills  along with them. Our  volunteers provide an integral service, which supports and enhances the delivery of patient care across the Foundation Trust. Volunteers in this age group, may apply at any time of year, for any of the volunteer roles available, providing they are fit and well enough to undertake the role they have chosen. Volunteers over 25 must be able to commit to at least six months of volunteering, but many stay with us for much longer.

You can apply to become a volunteer by clicking on the link to download a request for an application form 
Please complete and return the form to either the e-mail or postal address detailed on the form.

Volunteering for Students and young people under 25 years old

All 17 to 24 year old's are welcome to apply to become a volunteer at BTHFT. Most young people apply to become a volunteer because they have an interest in working within healthcare. This may include considering going into medicine, nursing, physiotherapy or within one of the many non-clinical support roles such as porters or catering assistants. Whilst, it is not possible to volunteer in all of these areas, our Patient Support Scheme will provide a good introduction for what it might be like to work in a hospital setting, and volunteers will be able to relate much of their volunteer experience to their chosen career. Other volunteer roles that will be beneficial to students and other young people under 25 years include Hospital Radio (particularly if the interest is in media) and the Play Assistant role. Volunteering within the Guiding Services is also a good way to improve the knowledge of hospital and NHS services and to build upon communication skills. To see more information on the roles available, click here to open up our information leaflet
Young volunteers must be able to commit themselves to volunteer with us for a full period of six months, but you must be aged at least 17 years, when you commence volunteering. 
**If you are under 17 years of age, therefore, please do not apply more than eight weeks before your 17th birthday.**
Student volunteer placements carry strict commencement and completion deadlines, which are agreed following successful completion of the application process. We provide the necessary training and support and view our young volunteers (potentially) as the NHS workforce of the future. Usual practice involves coming in to volunteer once a week for 2-3 hours, on the same day and at the same time each week. The day and time is decided mutually and will be dependent on when the volunteer is free and where the vacancies are. Once a volunteer has completed a placement, references may be provided on request, including a record of attendance and a description of the volunteer role that has been undertaken.
**New Student Volunteer Recruitment System**
Because demand for placements for student volunteers has continued to increase, we have made some changes to our Student Volunteer Recruitment system. Whilst the new system may create a waiting list initially, overall, it will provide an increased number of opportunities for student/young volunteers. From 15 January 2015, therefore, recruitment for student/young volunteers will be ongoing throughout the year, as with the over 25's (the bi-annual recruitment phases, previously used, will cease). Please be aware however, that recruitment will still begin three to four months prior to starting a volunteer placement, as the screening system and training is completed in advance.

Recognition of our volunteers.

  At BTHFT we believe in recognising and rewarding hard work and dedication. It is possible to  work towards a 50 hours award, which is  awarded to those volunteers who complete 50 hours or more during  their placement as a volunteer. 50 hour certificates are useful  additions to CV's and employment profiles. A Volunteer Thank-you  buffet lunch is held each year, when awards are presented to  volunteers for their Long Service. We also invite staff, patients, visitors  and other volunteers to nominate a deserving volunteer for the  ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award. 
There are prizes for first, second and third place. This is a lovely 'feel good' event, that provides the opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their support each year.


Volunteer and Charity Groups

There are many volunteer and charity groups that offer support at BTHFT, here are just a few:

  • Annette Fox Leukaemia Research Fund 
  • Bradford Hospital Charity   
  • Bradford Heart Support Group 
  • Cancer Support and Information Centre 
  • Chaplaincy Team
  • The Ear Trust  
  • The Friends of the BRI 
  • Radio Royal 
  • The Friends of SLH  
  • St Luke’s Sound Radio  

The Friends of SLH and the Friends of BRI are the two largest volunteer groups. They provide practical support and raise funds to improve patient care. There are also many other volunteer/charity groups which are linked with the Foundation Trust. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, if you would like to make a donation, or to find out more about any of the volunteer/ charity groups working with the Foundation Trust, please contact the Voluntary Services Department.

Contact Us:

Postal Address:
Voluntary Services Department
Main Corridor, Level One
Bradford Royal Infirmary
Duckworth Lane
BRADFORD
BD9 6RJ
Telephone: 01274 364309 or 01274 382860
Email: Volunteerinformation@bthft.nhs.uk
Web address: www.bradfordhospitals.nhs.uk/voluntary-services     

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for travelling expenses?

Yes, travelling expenses are refunded. If you are travelling by bus, your bus fares will be refunded, on production of your ticket. If you are travelling by car, the cost of the petrol is refunded at the rate of 24p per mile, for your return journey from home to the hospital. We also provide a parking permit.

Can I volunteer at the weekends?

Some volunteer roles are available at the weekends, such as helping on the wards or hospital radio. Other roles such as guiding are limited to Monday to Friday shifts.

Do I have to come for an interview and what will it involve?

Yes, all applicants for volunteer work are required to attend for an interview. The interview is very informal and will give us the chance to get to know you a little bit better. It will also give you the chance to get to know us and to ask any questions about volunteering. You will be able to discuss the various volunteer roles and we will help you decide what you would like to do.

Do I need a Work Permit to volunteer?

Not all volunteers require a work permit, but this depends on the individual's circumstances. If you are an overseas student, there may be limitations as to when you can volunteer. This will be discussed at interview and Voluntary Services staff will always do their best to help.

How long can I volunteer for?

Due to the high demand for placements, Students and other young people aged under 25 years are offered 6 month placements, with strict commencement and completion deadlines.
People aged 25 years and over can volunteer for as long as they wish, providing there is a suitable role available and they are able to attend regularly. In all instances, we ask that our volunteers commit to a minimum of 6 months of their time.

How much time will I need to give and how often will I need to come?

Everyone has different personal commitments and we will try to find a role that fits in with your personal circumstances. Most volunteers give between 2-4 hours of their time, one day each week. Others come in two to three times each week. Some people come in once a month. How much time you give is really up to you but regular attendance is encouraged.

I have a disability, can I still volunteer?

BTH welcomes people with disabilities. If you tell us about your disability, we will work together with you to try to find a role that suits you and your personal circumstances.

I have a paid job, can I still volunteer?

Yes. If you have a paid job, we will try our best to find a volunteer role that fits around your paid work.

I’m claiming job-seeker’s allowance, can I still volunteer?

When claiming job-seeker’s allowance, you must be able to prove to the authorities that you are available for work at all times. If you would like to volunteer, you must be willing to forfeit a volunteer shift if you are requested to attend job interviews or appointments etc. at short notice. It is always advisable, however, to check with your job-seeker advisors, before undertaking volunteer work.

I’m not sure what I want to do, how will this be decided?

When you attend for interview, you will have the chance to discuss the various volunteer roles and what’s involved. Prior to interview, it’s a good idea to jot down what you think you might like to do and what you enjoy doing as this will be a good starting point.

If I don’t like my volunteer role, can I change it?

It can take a little while to settle in, as in any new role. We do ask however, that you persevere for a few weeks – once you get to know everyone and can find your way around, it will be much more fun! If you don’t like the volunteer role you have chosen, or you are still finding finding it hard to settle in, this can be discussed and we will try to arrange more support or find you an alternative placement.

If I have to leave, can I come back later?

If you have to leave and then decide you would like to come back to volunteer at a later date, provided it is within twelve months of you leaving you will be able to return. All you will need to do is arrange to call in for a chat and we will arrange for your return. If it is over twelve months from the date you have left, then you will need to re-apply.

What is a DBS check and will I need to have one done?

A DBS check looks into your past to see if you have a criminal record. It is the new version of the old Criminal Records Bureux (CRB) check and is performed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) A DBS check is required for most volunteer roles within a healthcare setting. The DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and is designed to protect vulnerable groups, including children. Each person is considered on an individual basis so, if you are concerned about having a DBS check carried out, you can discuss this confidentially, with a member of the Voluntary Services team. You will need to provide three forms of Identification (ID). This usually includes a form of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, and two other forms of address ID such a utility bill or bank statement. Don’t worry if you don’t have these documents, we will advise you of what alternatives can be used. You will not be charged for the CRB check.

What skills/qualifications will I need to be a volunteer?

Generally, volunteers need to have good communication skills and to have a genuine interest in volunteering and helping others. Good volunteers demonstrate kindness and compassion but it’s also essential to have a good sense of humour too! It will help a lot, if you are a little outgoing and have worked with people before, but, it’s not essential. So, if you are a little shy and reserved at first, don’t worry, we’ll soon help you to feel at home and gain more confidence. Most of all, we want you to enjoy your volunteer work and to feel part of the team!

What support will I get?

Where possible, we will try to ‘buddy’ you up with an experienced volunteer to support you through your first few sessions. Staff on the wards and in the departments will also help you settle in. Everyone settles in at a different pace so, and some people require more support than others. This will be discussed with you before you start and then reviewed a few weeks after your first session. The Voluntary Services Department has an ‘open door’ policy, which means that you can call in if you have a problem or a query. You will also receive the necessary induction and training for your chosen volunteer role.

When can I start?

The screening process takes between six to eight weeks to complete, from when you submit your completed forms. Once all the checks have been carried out, a second appointment will be arranged with you to discuss when you will be able to start and where you will be working. For young volunteers, it is important that you are aware that you must be aged 17 years upon commencing volunteering.

Will I receive an induction and any training?

You will receive all the necessary training for your role and you will be given a thorough induction.

Will I get paid for volunteer work?

No. There are no payments for volunteer work at BTHFT. You will, however, be able to claim 'out of pocket' expenses, such as travel.

Will I have to wear a uniform?

At BTHFT, we consider our volunteers to be representatives of the Foundation Trust and therefore ask that our volunteers follow a dress code. This usually means that you are dressed smartly and look professional. Some volunteer roles, such as Tea-bar roles require you to wear protective aprons or tabards and these will be provided for you. Student volunteers are required to wear a polo shirt bearing an embroidered logo. For security reasons, all volunteers must wear an identification badge at all times and this will be provided for you.

Will I need a CV?

CV’s are a useful way of providing information about your studies and work history. However, they are not essential when applying for a volunteer role.

Will I need to have a medical?

All volunteers are required to complete a paper health screen form. The Occupational Health team will assess the information you have provided about your health, to determine if you are fit and well enough to carry out your chosen role. Sometimes, they advise minor changes to the role, which will make it more appropriate to a volunteer’s level of fitness. Where a volunteer is deemed not fit enough at all to carry out their chosen role, we will do our best to find an alternative role that will be more appropriate.

Will I need to provide references?

All volunteers need to provide the name and address of two people who can give a good character reference. It’s best to ask your intended referees first, before you put their names down.

Referees must not however, be related to you in any way.

Referees need to have known you (recently) for at least two years.

If you have been employed in the last five years, you must provide referee details of your current or previous employer.