Our volunteers donate their time, energy and enthusiasm in a wide variety of non-clinical activities to personalise and improve the experience of service users and carers. Volunteering complements the work of healthcare staff to provide the best experience possible.
We strive to make our trust a place where people are positive about volunteering and where their roles can make a genuine impact.
Volunteering offers the opportunity to:
- Use your spare time purposefully
- Give something back
- Gain an insight into potential career options
- Develop and refresh skills
- Meet new people
- Build confidence and self-esteem
Who can volunteer?
We welcome volunteers from all sections of the community and embrace differing ideas, skills and abilities. A diverse mix of people can help us to understand and best meet the needs of our service users.
The key qualities we require are a non-judgmental attitude, the ability to treat everyone equally with dignity, respect and compassion and reliability
The majority of our projects require volunteers to be over 18. There is no upper age limit providing you are fit and able to participate.
A guide to volunteering at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (569kB)
How much time will I have to give?
Most of our volunteer roles require as little as two to four hours per week and volunteers are asked to attend on pre-arranged times and days.
As my illness has taken away my past profession, I feel too old to retrain and too young to do nothing. Now I have a purpose and vocation that is neither too much for me nor too under stimulating.A volunteer
What do volunteers do?
Volunteers participate in a wide range of non-clinical activities across CNTW, complementing the work of healthcare professionals to enhance the experience of our service users.
I enjoy feeling appreciated and welcomed back each week by patients and staff which gives me the feeling of being a worthwhile cog in the machine.A volunteer
Our roles vary in accordance with each department and locality but briefly volunteers may:
- Offer social and therapeutic support to service users on a ward or within a day service e.g. listening and chatting to service users, participating in board games, quizzes, crosswords, arts.
- Promote user involvement and gain feedback from service users.
- Support staff in services such as the Chaplaincy, Library Services etc.
- Provide practical assistance in activities e.g. Hospital Shop, gardening etc.
Where will I be volunteering and for how long?
The volunteering role will be mutually agreed between yourself and the Volunteer Co-ordinator. The choice will be based upon current vacancies and your personal interests, skills, experience, preferences and availability. All of our projects are established to enhance the experience of our service users and the days and times that projects run are organised to best meet their needs.
We would like you to volunteer with us for as long as you can but a minimum of six months is desirable. We do not offer short term placements over the summer holidays.
Will I receive training and expenses?
Before you commence as a volunteer you will be required to attend Volunteer Induction Training. Further training may be required dependent upon your project choice. You will also be required to attend regular training updates.
I have learnt a lot about myself, it has challenged my preconceptions about mental illness and I have met some lovely people.A volunteer
Volunteers are reimbursed with agreed actual out of pocket expenses for travel to their volunteering role, training and support meetings in line with our Trust policies.
Please note, volunteers cannot use their voluntary role to fulfill study requirements for a qualification. You might be interested in doing an apprenticeship with us, or finding out more about what training we can offer medical students.
How do I start volunteering?
There are a few steps everyone needs to go through to become a CNTW volunteer.
- Attend an informal interview
- Complete a Registration Form
- Provide the name of two people who we can contact to seek a reference
- As our volunteers will come into contact with vulnerable adults or young people they are required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service Check (previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau Check) which we will organise.
- Complete Volunteer Induction Training/Project Training
What do staff say about volunteers?
It seems that the simple kindness shown by people who have no motive other than a wish to give their time, helps our service users feel valued and less isolated.A staff member
Social Activity Volunteers bring something unique and make a positive contribution to the service. I value the time and effort they put into their role and I know the patients enjoy their company too.A ward manager
Involving Volunteers - a guide for staff (621kB)
I am interested in becoming a volunteer, what do I do?