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Volunteering for us

Volunteering for us

Volunteers play an important role in our Trust by providing non-clinical support to Staff, Service Users and their Carers.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us!

We welcome volunteering applications from anyone aged 18+, especially from residents of our Boroughs, people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and/or of caring for someone with a mental illness, and from representatives of the different cultural, economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as sexual and gender orientation, of the communities we serve.

Please be aware that the recruitment process takes an average of just over two months. Once recruited, volunteers will need to undertake all mandatory training before they can start a volunteering placement at the Trust. The training process takes on average four weeks. Before applying to volunteer with us, we ask you to ensure you can commit to the entire length of the recruitment and training process, which is about three months in total. 

Why volunteer?

People volunteer for lots of reasons:

  • To gain practical experience of working alongside experienced clinicians and with/for our Service Users.
  • To support any of our different Mental Health Services.
  • To meet other mental health enthusiasts, champions, and future practitioners.
  • People with first-hand experience of using our Services, or of supporting someone who has, volunteer with us to say thank you, and to help us improve the work we do.

How much time should I give?

  • Once you start on a volunteering placement, we ask that you commit to a minimum of two consecutive hours weekly, for ten consecutive weeks. Volunteering for a least two consecutive hours weekly will give you enough time and space to digest the many things you will need to learn at the start of a volunteering placement, including simple things like your colleagues’ and Service Users’ names, safety procedures, etc.
  • We strongly recommend that you keep your volunteering hours consistent for the first ten weeks of placement, as this will help you embed volunteering into your routine. After the initial ten weeks, you may choose to reduce / increase your volunteering hours based on your personal circumstances and reasons for volunteering.
  • We can provide references, once volunteers complete six months or more with us.

What type of volunteering could I do?

We have a variety of roles including:

  • Chaplaincy volunteering: we aim to have representatives of all different religions and forms of spirituality, and volunteers play a paramount role in this
  • PAT Dog/Cat: if you have a registered PAT dog or cat, get our service users to cuddle and play with them
  • Befriending: sitting with our patients and talking to them about everyday things. This is another powerful way of bringing normality to someone’s life on the ward
  • Assisting with activities: working alongside our Occupational Therapists and Activity Coordinators to make many different activities available to our Service Users. Engaging in activities is a proven way to help someone recover / maintain physical (e.g. manual), cognitive (e.g. concentration) and social (e.g. conversational) skills. It is also a great way to get to know Service Users, and for them to get to know you.
  • Supporting Service Users in the community: reducing someone’s loneliness, or sense of hopelessness, by joining them for coffee, shopping, a walk, and other activities in public areas. You will be supported by professionals who know the Service Users well and will help you assist them as safely and effectively as possible.
  • Admin / clerical posts: supporting Teams with updating activity timetables, photocopying, printing, minute taking, etc.
  • Assist our Communications Team: for example by taking photos of Trust events; video recording / video editing interviews with volunteers / service users / staff as a way of celebrating their successes and telling their stories; promoting our Services by looking after our social media profile.

Will volunteering cost me anything?

No. We will reimburse travel expenses against actual receipts (you can claim up to the ‘Pay as you go cap’ – daily anytime - adult - zone 1 to 6 journeys). We will also provide subsidised lunch if you volunteer for more than six hours in a row, and over the lunch period.

Will I be supported during my volunteering placement?

  • Out of the initial 10 weeks, for the first 4-6 weeks you will work alongside clinicians, shadowing and directly learning from them. This will enable you to progressively become familiar with processes, procedures, staff and Service Users, and develop skills and self-confidence. The remaining weeks will be for you to take more ownership of the tasks you have previously learnt and prepare to go “solo”.
  • You will be allocated a placement supervisor, who will answer questions and queries and support your learning throughout your volunteering experience.
  • You will have access to our monthly Volunteer Support and Development Meetings, a space where you and your fellow Volunteers can talk about the good and bad of volunteering, problem solve together, and share tips and experiences.
  • Should you wish to receive additional support outside of your volunteering hours, this can be provided by the Involvement Volunteer Team.

How do I become a volunteer?

Simply send us an email. Please ensure you:
  • Enter Volunteering in the subject title.
  • Include your name, surname, telephone no. and email address (if different from the one you are using) in the main text.
  • Briefly tell us why you would like to volunteer with us.
We will then get in touch with you to arrange a meeting and take things from there. We look forward to hearing from you soon!