Why volunteer?

People volunteer with us for many reasons.  Most often as a way of giving something back to their community, knowing that they have helped patients, their carers and family when they are feeling at their most vulnerable. Volunteering with us gives you:

  • structure to your day and a sense of achievement
  • a challenge and an opportunity for personal development
  • an opportunity to learn new skills or to use your lifetime skills
  • an opportunity to meet others and to make social contact

Can anyone volunteer?

Volunteers are an integral part of the hospice and its services, and so we have to appoint them with all possible care and attention. There is a simple application form, two references are asked for, a basic medical questionnaire and, dependent on the role you choose, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. We arrange all this for you, so don’t worry about the process.

No special skills are needed but you must have a commitment to confidentiality and to being a reliable member of the team. We have volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life. Some of our evening volunteers also have full-time jobs and they welcome the chance to help in their spare time. Couples are also welcome to apply.

Will it cost me anything?

No, you are not expected to be out of pocket for the help you give the Trust. We reimburse reasonable travel expenses, and if you complete a four-hour shift then you can claim a meal and a hot drink during your session.

What training will I receive?

Each volunteer role has a written role description clearly stating what you can do. Wherever possible, new volunteers are placed with more experienced volunteers so you can learn as you go along.  You will never be asked to undertake any role for which you have not received appropriate instruction. All our training is provided free of charge, and may include Fire Awareness Training, Manual Handling, Health & Safety, Safeguarding Adults and Food Hygiene.

Drivers are required to undergo a Driving Assessment. Also, all new volunteers are asked to attend an induction half-day, which includes mini-presentations from different members of the hospice team who talk about their individual services, and how they fit in with the wider organisation.

Is there a minimum amount I have to do each week?

Every role is different. In all areas we can be flexible about the time given. Some volunteers come in several times a week, others once a fortnight. We appreciate that many volunteers have a lot of demands on their time so we try to accommodate this by being as flexible as possible.

Do volunteers do the same things as paid staff?

Volunteers do not carry out the work of paid employees. Volunteers add quality to the services that we offer by giving their time to support and assist paid employees to provide a high-quality effective care in a busy working environment.

Is volunteering the same as work experience?

No. Volunteers don’t undertake work done by paid staff, and volunteering is not a means of gaining Work Experience. We do offer Work Experience placements in our Specialist Palliative Daycare Unit – you can enquire about these on the number below.

How do I become a volunteer with the Voluntary Services Department?

Send your written application to:

  • Lindsey Richards  – Voluntary Services Manager
    St John’s Hospice
    Weston Road
    DN4 8JS

Telephone or email

For any questions or information before you sign up you can contact the voluntary services team on: