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.
Volunteers are involved in the care enrichment and recovery of our patients in many different ways - see the range of opportunities below for more details.
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. 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.
Our Voluntary Services team welcomes, encourages and supports volunteers - managing volunteer recruitment, training, placement, support and social events.
We welcome individuals and also host volunteering days for business teams, to assist with your CSR needs. If you are interested in joining our fantastic team of volunteers or would like your company to get involved, please contact us.
We joined forces with fellow mental health organisations to inspire people to volunteer their time to make a difference, and to showcase the wide range of volunteering opportunities available in mental healthcare.
The goal for the #100ThousandHours campaign was a simple one: together with our partners Northampton Mind, Samaritans Northampton, The Lowdown, and The Hope Centre, we aimed to achieve a combined 100,000 hours of volunteering.
How did we do?
“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 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 150 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 45 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.