A great place to volunteer
We have a brilliant, active and highly valued team of more than 500 volunteers who give some of their time to make a difference for patients every week. We’re proud that Cambridge Universities Hospital (CUH) is a great place to volunteer. Here’s why:
- We create meaningful roles where volunteers have direct contact with patients and can see for themselves the difference they make
- We provide free on-site parking, travel expenses (up to a 30 mile round trip), discounts for a range of local services and products and access to the Frank Lee sports and leisure facility (see here)
- We provide a comprehensive induction and optional on-going training opportunities
- We appreciate volunteers’ service and attendance and acknowledge these with certificates, badges and celebration events
- We have a dedicated team of staff in the Voluntary Services department to support our volunteers
- We understand that each applicant’s motivation to step into volunteering is unique to them.
- Volunteers join with staff in helping give our patients the best experience possible. Our values of Together-Safe-Kind-Excellent – apply equally to volunteers and staff.
Our evidence shows that volunteering improves communication skills and confidence and facilitates personal challenge and growth. The opportunity to volunteer is also seen as beneficial by Higher Education providers; although not all of the young people participating are seeking future careers in the health sector. More details about the programme are available on our website VIVID.
Andrey is currently studying for his ‘A’ levels and volunteers after college once a week. He explains:
‘What inspires me to volunteer at Addenbrooke’s is the feeling that coming every week really does make a difference. When I first joined, I was amazed at how much people valued a simple conversation about their family, hobbies, or even the weather and I found this experience extremely gratifying. Because the help that we offer is greatly appreciated by both patients and staff, volunteers are always quickly incorporated into the ward’s healthcare team. I have also found that there are plenty of training programmes and opportunities that allow volunteers to gain more experience and improve the care that we provide. Every week you get to meet amazing people with incredible stories. I now look forward to every Monday, when after lessons I go to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. I find working on the wards incredibly rewarding and I feel honoured to be part of the Volunteering Team.’
Theresa also trained as a mentor, so she helps new volunteers to settle in and to understand the value of volunteering. Theresa says, ‘I love and enjoy what I do as a volunteer. Each week presents itself with something new and I value every moment with a patient. I am always happy to see someone’s face brightened through my little contribution.
It is quite humbling how much appreciation I receive from patients and staff. This gives fulfilment and the realisation of how much difference the little time I give makes. I intended to volunteer for a few months but have lost count of time.
As a mentor, I cherish every session spent with new volunteers, it is rewarding to see them settle comfortably.
The Cambridge University Hospitals Voluntary Services team has been incredibly friendly and supportive. Their inspiration and devotion has inspired me and I know it will extend to others.
And a patient answered, ‘She wags her tail and looks friendly, then her handler has a nice chat with you!’ Our PAT dogs are registered with Pets As Therapy, have passed a stringent temperament test and have an up to date certificate of registration.
Volunteer owner/handler Theresa says: ‘We visit people who are in hospital and are missing their pets and families. The visits sometimes open up communication between patients who haven’t spoken together before. Our presence is the catalyst for common threads to emerge between people, as stories unfold about their pets. Staff and patients alike are pleased to see us when we arrive in the ward – Lillie creates lots of communication and positive vibes! So many patients love to touch and stroke Lillie. On the elderly wards, patients with dementia can have memory of their dogs by patting and stroking Lillie. It also helps boost their communication skills when they interact with medical staff and talk about their pets. In addition, some staff from overseas who are working here at CUH appreciate making a fuss of her, as they may have a dog at home which they really miss’.
If you have a suitable dog and are interested in the scheme, please contact Pets As Therapy to register your dog before applying to volunteer. Details can be found on page xx of this booklet. Thank you!
I found I still yearn to be somehow part of a local health care service. While considering a return pathway or just being involved, I have valued the opportunity to experience the workplace and appreciate it from an entirely different perspective. I have found that most people are immensely grateful and always enthusiastic to share that gratitude especially when they learn that the work is entirely unpaid. In fact the concept of working unpaid is alien to some of the population, yet the rewards are incredibly satisfying. I also recognise that it is not an experience that is possible for everyone, given the financial constraints of daily living.
I am immensely proud to be part of volunteering at Cambridge University Hospitals. The experience of the local client population of being cared for is absolutely enhanced by the contribution of volunteers to our hospital. I feel I am in some little way contributing to the successful delivery of a service which we simply would find it difficult to live without. It has been said that the NHS runs on goodwill. I think where volunteers are concerned this is certainly true.
Could you help?
Our volunteers make a real difference to patients and staff.
Exciting volunteering roles available now.