Become a volunteer with us

Volunteers make a huge contribution to the wellbeing of our patients and provide the perfect enhancement to our staff, in helping transform lives of people affected by mental health issues.

When volunteering, you will have the opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends and to meet and volunteer with patients who have a variety of backgrounds, cultures, interests and skills. Volunteering can also increase confidence and improve your own wellbeing.

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness are associated with positive mental wellbeing and giving to others, whilst working in a team can create positive feelings and an increased sense of purpose.

Volunteers can get involved in the care enrichment and recovery of our patients in many different ways, including:

  • Admin / Research Volunteers: Utilising your admin skills or interest in research to support the team and patients whilst gaining valuable knowledge and work experience
  • Befrienders: Becoming a regular companion and visitor to a patient, who may not have contact with family or friends nor receive any external visitors at all
  • Chapel Coffee Morning Assistants: To assist with the refreshments, charity stall, activity/music corner or just chatting to patients and staff who attend chapel coffee mornings
  • Chaplaincy Assistant Volunteers (CAV): Assisting the Chaplaincy team with the provision of spiritual support to patients across the hospital
  • Charity Shop Assistants: Joining our lively and friendly team of volunteers who run the Workbridge charity shop
  • Coffee Shop Assistants: To join our staff and volunteer team within the award-winning Workbridge cafe
  • Drivers: Joining our voluntary car scheme to transport patients and their staff to home/medical visits and outings
  • Events Volunteers: Joining staff to help patients enjoy the many fun activities and events which take place within the hospital
  • Garden Centre and Horticultural Volunteers: To join our BBC Gardener’s World Silver and Gold medal winning team at our Workbridge Garden Centre and/or within the horticultural areas within the hospital
  • IT Session Volunteers: Helping patients complete online Food Hygiene courses
  • Patient Activity Volunteers: Assisting patients with creative activities such as woodwork, textiles, arts and crafts, ceramics, horticulture, cooking
  • Patient Feedback Volunteers: Helping to gather the views of our patients
  • Patient Visitors: Visiting patients on our Dementia wards for a chat and a cuppa
  • Pets As Therapy Volunteers (PATdog): Pet-owning volunteers who bring their dogs to the charity to bring joy, comfort and companionship to our patients
  • Skill Sharing Volunteers: To share your skill/interest/hobby with a patient or patients
  • Sports and Exercise Therapy Volunteers: To help improve our patients' mental health and wellbeing through dance, movement and exercise
  • Voluntary Assistant Psychologist (VAP): For Psychology Graduates (with a minimum 2:1) that are seeking valuable work experience within a mental health setting

Our Voluntary Services team welcomes, encourages and supports volunteers, managing volunteer recruitment, training, placement, support and social events.

What does volunteering mean to you?

“Since being a volunteer at St Andrew's Healthcare I have gained confidence and feel part of a working team. It is a pleasure to come to work and know I am needed and that I'm helping not only the patients but also the staff, as they have an extra pair of hands” - Beki (Patient Activity and Chapel Coffee Morning Assistant Volunteer)

"Our volunteers are supporting and willing to share their skills, and they're of a wide range of ages with different life experiences. The patients gain a new person to meet and chat with, and the volunteers want to be here and give up their time to help. They are an important part of the hospital community" - Cheryl (Service Manager)

“Volunteering allows me to interact with patients, and maybe in some small way, help improve their time whilst they are in our care” - Stuart (Patient Activity Volunteer)

“It’s lovely to see patients interacting with my dog, Cookie, and enjoying their time together. You can instantly see the joy and benefits that it gives and makes me very proud to be involved” - Claire (PATdog volunteer)

"Volunteers are always willing to help, support and encourage our patients with whatever project they are undertaking. They are always smiley, reliable and a pleasure to have as part of the team" - Jason (Senior Vocational Skills Instructor)

"Volunteering with St Andrew's Healthcare has allowed me to gain good quality experience and insight which is key for my future career, the staff are also extremely welcoming" - Gemma (Patient Activity Volunteer)

"The volunteers are polite every time I ask for help - they're great. When they're not in, I miss chatting to them" - a person in our care

Who can be a volunteer at St Andrew's Healthcare?

To be a staff or external volunteer with us you must:

- Be at least 18 years old
- Be able to commit for the minimum period required of the role (usually three, six or 12 months)
- Have been a resident in Great Britain for previous six months
- Take part in a recruitment process involving an interview, references, an enhanced DBS check and induction training

What skills do I need to become a volunteer?

Nothing specific, apart from a bit of time on a regular basis, and the ability to commit to the minimum period required of the role - usually three, six or 12 months, depending on the voluntary role you choose to do.

Please be assured that you will be given any training required and all the support you need to fulfil whichever voluntary role or roles you choose to undertake.

How do I apply to become a volunteer?

You can get an application form in any of the following ways:

- By clicking here to download one
- By emailing [email protected]
- By calling 01604 616212
- By collecting one from the Voluntary Services Department, St Andrew's Healthcare, Main Building, Billing Road, Northampton, NN1 5DG

 

What does the application process consist of?

The application process for external volunteers involves an interview, DBS check, two references, Induction Training and then any additional training that is required for some, but not all of the voluntary roles.

The application process for St Andrew’s staff to become volunteers involves an informal chat and then any additional training that is required for some, but not all of the voluntary roles.

The application process for our Patient (Recovery) Volunteers will usually follow on from the patient’s successful completion of a 12-week placement (via St Andrew’s Employment Support Department). The patient’s support worker is usually present with them at the interview.

For every application, your requirements and skills are then matched to a suitable ward/team/patient, whom you will be introduced to, before you commence your volunteering role.

What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer?

To the patients:

Volunteers are an external, non-medical link to the outside world for our patients. They know you are giving up your free time to be with them and they value that highly.

Your personality, skills, language, culture, interests and good nature could be just what a patient needs and we are looking for. Particularly if you are matched with patient(s) who don’t have any visits from family or friends or for whom English is not their first language.

What our volunteers bring to our patients is immeasurable really and cannot be provided by anyone other than good natured, compassionate individuals who have chosen to donate some of their own spare time, to make a difference to the lives of others.

The benefits to the individual patient often resonates with the staff and other patients from their wards, plus with their families and friends if they are in touch with them.

To the volunteers:

Volunteering is a very personal thing and people do it for many different reasons.   Our existing team of more than 100 volunteers gain as much as they give from volunteering.

"Being part of a team", "a sense of achievement", "giving something back", “personal learning and development”, “making new friends”, “gaining valuable experience”, “socialising”, “making a difference” - these are the main aspects commonly listed by our team as highlights of volunteering.  

Most of our volunteers stay beyond the original commitment required of the role. We have many volunteers with us who have surpassed five, 10, 15, 30 and even 40 years of voluntary service.

To St Andrew’s Healthcare:

We love that our volunteers are individuals who have chosen to contribute to our patients' lives in a way which both they and the patients benefit from.

Staff are always thrilled to have new volunteers join their ward or team to enrich the lives of our patients and we as an organisation are very proud and honoured to have such a wonderful team of individuals to make up our team of amazing volunteers.

What sort of volunteering roles can I get involved with at St Andrew's Healthcare?

We have a variety of volunteering opportunities across all four of our sites, in Northampton, Birmingham, Nottinghamshire and Essex. If you have the time to donate, then I am sure we can find something to suit you and your interests, skills, culture or language.

What type of dogs do you welcome for Pets As Therapy?

Any and all dogs are welcome to join our Pets As Therapy team. To become a PATdog volunteer you will need to have owned your dog for at least six months and to register with the national Pets As Therapy Association. We can help you with this.

Our team of PAT dog volunteers do fantastic work within the charity, and our patients enjoy meeting the pets, making a fuss of them and sometimes walking them around our grounds.