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FAQs

mealtime volunteersWhat do volunteers do?

Our volunteers enhance the service already provided by paid staff; they do not replace paid staff. We offer a wide variety of volunteering roles, ranging from volunteering in wards and clinical areas to supporting visitors coming into our hospitals. Take a look at our list of current volunteer opportunities to see if there's something that will suit you. The placement profiles available on this web site will also give you more information about the sorts of things that our volunteers do.   

Will I be interviewed?

Yes. We hold interviews to help us get to know you find out what skills you can offer and explore what you would like to do when you volunteer. We will also talk about any training you will need for the position. 

Can I choose where I volunteer?

We offer a wide variety of placements throughout the Trust. During your interview you will be asked where you would like to volunteer, what skills you can bring and what you are hoping to gain from the placement. This will help us to find the most suitable placement for you. We will do our best to accommodate your request. 

Do all applicants get accepted for volunteering?

We receive a lot of applications, so we are not always able to place everyone - but we do our best to. This is why it is important that you provide us with as much relevant information as possible in your registration form and at interview.   

Will I be able to volunteer immediately?

All volunteers must go through the necessary police checks, references, occupational health clearance and training. This can take some time to complete. The time between us receiving an application and the start of a placement is typically around eight weeks - assuming that paperwork is completed promptly and a suitable role is available. 

Will I get any training?

Once you start volunteering you will be given training and local orientation to the ward or department. You will need to attend the Trust's corporate induction programme, and any other specific training identified for the role. This usually takes two days. Once you are in a volunteering role, there may be further opportunities for training - this is something you can discuss with your placement manager or the Voluntary Services Manager.   

Can I volunteer if I am under 18? 

For health and safety reasons, most voluntary placements are for those aged above 18, although we do place 17 year olds in some of our non-clinical areas. Some of our charities do have junior membership from the age of 14, usually offering placements in a retail environment. 

I am free over the summer holidays - can I volunteer for this period only?

Due to the length of our recruitment and training we ask you to commit to a minimum of six months for a volunteering role.

How long and how often can I volunteer?

Most volunteers do half day sessions, mornings or afternoons, usually once a week, although some choose to do a full day once a week. Most of our opportunities are Monday to Friday but we do have some opportunities available during evenings and weekends. We are very flexible and always happy to discuss alternatives that fit in with your own commitments.   

How do I apply?

You will need to complete an application form which can be downloaded from the how to apply page. Once we have received your form you will be invited to an interview to discuss the opportunities available and try to match your skills with current vacancies. If an opportunity arises, we then require:

  • Two references
  • Disclosure and Barring Service Check (previously known as Criminal Records Bureau Check)
  • Occupational Health clearance
  • A minimum of three forms of identity documentation
  • Attendance at induction and any other relevant training

Once you are cleared to begin volunteering, you will be given a starter pack and a date when your placement will begin. 

What will happen to my benefits if I volunteer?

The document 'Volunteering while getting benefits' will provide you with more information. In nearly all cases benefits will not be affected but you must talk to Jobcentre Plus before you start any volunteering. 

Can I claim expenses? 

We pay travel expenses to our volunteers and encourage them to use the local bus service or hospital free bus. Facilities are available for those who wish to cycle. Volunteers who contribute over four hours a day are entitled to claim a luncheon allowance. Expenses may be claimed on a weekly or monthly basis by producing receipts. 

Where can I volunteer?

Here are some examples of departments and services where volunteers are needed:

Outpatients, wards, our retail outlets, information centres, reception desks, fundraising groups, playrooms, hospital radio, driving, chaplaincy, Emergency Department, League of Friends, Scouts, helping patients at mealtimes, administration, maternity tours, and South Bristol Community Hospital.   

Are there any volunteering opportunities with other organisations?

We work closely with the RVS (formerly WRVS) and Radio Lollipop. Please visit their websites for further information  

I want to shadow a health professional or other NHS staff. Is that possible?

If you would like to shadow a member of staff you will need to contact the Trust's Work Experience Coordinator by calling 0117 342 5000 (option 4) or email wex@uhbristol.nhs.uk . See the work experience page on the Trust's web site for more information and contact details.

I am a student seeking a placement to support my studies. Can I do my placement at UH Bristol?

If you need a placement to support your course, you will need to apply for an honorary contract. For further information, please call 0117 342 5000 (option 1) or email jobs@uhbristol.nhs.uk . See the clinical attachments and internships page on the Trust's web site for more information and contact details. 

What identity documents do I need to provide?

As part of the checks we are required to make you will need to provide at least three forms of identity documentation. The Disclosure & Barring Service require us to see specific documents.

You will need to provide either two forms of photographic identity documents and one document confirming your current address; or one form of photographic identity document and two address documents.

Photographic identity documents - current passport; driving licence photocard (which must be presented with the paper counterpart).

Address documents - current council tax statement, bank statement dated within last three months (cannot be online printout), utility bill dated within last three months (cannot be online printout).

If you cannot provide these documents please contact the Voluntary Services team on 0117 34 21530 /21531