Volunteer your time to make a difference

Volunteers make a huge contribution to the well-being and recovery of our patients and provide the perfect enhancement to our staff, in helping transform lives of people affected by mental health issues.  Our support structure ensures that St Andrew's Volunteers' gain as much as they give from volunteering. 

Our patients and your colleagues will expect you to live the St Andrew’s CARE values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence every single day.  So if you are reliable, non-judgemental, warm, friendly, a good listener with a good sense of humour and good communication skills, we would love to hear from you.   Your personality, language, culture, interests and good nature could be just what a patient needs and we are looking for.   Please see the range of opportunities below for more details.

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About volunteering

Our Volunteers bring a special kind of magic to our patients, which contributes to their recovery in a variety of different ways.

When volunteering, you will have the chance to learn new skills, make new friends and to meet and volunteer with people who have a variety of backgrounds, cultures, interests and skills.  You will also be able to see the benefit your volunteering is having on our patients, which is hugely rewarding. 

Volunteering can also increase confidence and improve your own well-being.   Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness are associated with positive mental well-being and giving to others, whilst working in a team can create positive feelings and an increased sense of purpose.

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

We welcome individuals and also host volunteering days for business teams, to assist with their CSR needs. If you are interested in joining our fantastic team of volunteers, or would like your company to get involved, please contact us.

Be the reason someone smiles today.

Volunteering opportunities

  • 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
  • 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 (Saturday only)
  • Coffee Shop Assistants: To join our staff and volunteer team within the award-winning Workbridge café
  • 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 across the hospital
  • Patient Activity Volunteers: Assisting patients with creative activities such as woodwork, textiles, arts and crafts, ceramics, horticulture and cooking
  • Patient Visitors: Visiting patients on our Dementia wards for a chat and a cuppa
  • Pets As Therapy Volunteers (PATdog): Volunteers who bring their pet dogs to the charity to bring joy, comfort and companionship to our patients
  • Voluntary Assistant Psychologist (VAP): For Psychology Graduates (with a minimum 2:1) that are seeking valuable work experience within a leading mental health setting

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 at light and heavy workshop are polite every time I ask for help. They are cool and very, very kind. I have been coming here for two years now and I still love it. When they are not in I miss chatting to them. They are all great." - 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 emailing VoluntaryServices@standrew.co.uk
- By calling to 01604 616164
- 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 250 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 50 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 group 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. Please check our list of roles to find something that you would like to do.

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.