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Volunteer at Royal Free

There are various volunteering roles available at The Royal Free London, Camden.

Volunteers have the chance to improve the lives of others by befriending a dementia patient, helping hospital visitors navigate the many miles of corridors in the hospitals, chatting with patients while serving coffee and teas, creating beautiful gardens for patients to enjoy, making patients feel better with a new look or haircut, selling sweets and treats to those who can’t leave their ward.....and much much more. We will help you identify a role that suits your skills.

To volunteer at the Royal Free please email the volunteer team or call 020 7830 2306.

Why not watch our film and see volunteers in action.

Enquiry desk volunteers

To work as a duo or team to help give directions to patients, visitors and staff in our large hospital site. We have six miles of corridors and a complex layout; many visitors require assistance to reach their destination.

This position requires ongoing training including shadowing existing volunteers and orienteering exercises.

Available slots are Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Bereavement Support role

We have a new volunteer opportunity for a professional, resilient and caring individual to support one of the most crucial hospital services within the Trust. The role includes:

  • couriering paperwork between the bereavement office and the wards
  • general administration tasks
  • offering support and comfort to bereaved family members.

The successful applicant will form part of a busy team and will be provided with all necessary training for the role. The role is available 2-3 days per week.

Gardening volunteers

We have several gardens around the Royal Free site and a regular group of garden volunteers. The aim is to provide a more welcoming and attractive approach to the hospital for patients, staff and visitors, especially around the seating area in front of the main entrance, and on Pond Street.

We are a friendly group and we welcome gardeners of all abilities. We provide opportunities to design and plan the planting, but we also need volunteers to lead the garden sessions, dig, plant, weed, and water – as well as raising funds from the community, making the tea and holding the fundraising tins on our planting days. We often gather on Saturday mornings, but some of our regular volunteers also work on the garden during the week, especially during the summer when there’s the most need for watering and weeding. The work is seasonal, depending on the needs of the garden, but bad weather doesn’t stop us!

We are raising funds to buy more plants and materials. If you would like to contribute please donate here.

Shop trolley volunteers

We need help from volunteers to take our shop trolley around the wards twice per day. You can choose either the morning or afternoon round, or both if you have the time! Volunteers work in pairs and sell items from the trolley to patients, staff and visitors.

Clinic playroom assistance

We are looking for a volunteer (who will be based in the Outpatients department) who can assist in:

  • supporting play and activities
  • clean the toys/activities
  • tidy the area when required
  • encourage parents to use the playroom and engage in play whilst waiting for appointments.

Book trolley volunteers

We are hoping to grow our book trolley service to reach more patients each week. We have various spaces, particularly on Thursdays, so please get in touch if you think that you’d like to chat to patients and help them choose the right book for them.

Qualified Massage Therapist

Our volunteer massage therapists are valued members of our team - without them it would be impossible for us to provide our current level of service to patients (over 34,000 visits per year).

  • Volunteers work on the wards for 3 hours per week during one morning session
  • Full training in a ward-based clinical environment is given to all therapists
  • Contribution to travel expenses and a lunch voucher are provided

All therapists need to have a recognised massage qualification, up-to-date membership of a professional body and insurance. It is not necessary for them to have worked in a hospital environment before. Volunteers joining our team will be required to fill in an occupational health form and undergo a DBS (criminal records check) which will be organised by our Volunteer Team.

Please be aware that we often have a waiting list of therapists wanting to join our department; if you are interested then please email your CV and a brief covering letter to: Keith Hunt MBE, Complementary Therapies Co-ordinator, 

Dementia companion

One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and one in four NHS hospital beds is believed to be occupied by a patient with the condition. Stays in hospital can be more difficult for those with this diagnosis.

Our ‘Reach out to Dementia’ scheme trains volunteers to be companions and spend time with patients who have dementia. Patients may be lonely or feel isolated and companions can provide company or undertake activities such as using reminiscence boards which have images provided by the family to help stimulate conversation and memory.

Meet and Greet

Arriving at a hospital can sometimes be a stressful experience and our Meet and Greet volunteers play a key role in assisting patients and visitors to be at ease, with a friendly and reassuring welcome. This role involves ongoing training to enable you to know the hospital very well. After training you will be placed in busy areas to help lost, confused and anxious patients/visitors to find their destination and help them check in at the check in kiosks. Good communication and mobility are essential. 

A&E volunteer

The Accident & Emergency department is always busy. Volunteers help to make those waiting feel more at ease by providing them with teas & coffee, chatting with those waiting to be seen and provide updates on their progress in the queue. 

Volunteer with your therapy dog

Pets are known to help reduce stress, anxiety and help with loneliness and depression. We are delighted to have a partnership with Pets as Therapy and Therapaws who specially check all dogs for their suitability and temperament for the hospital environment. Therapy dogs make regular visits to the children’s ward and elderly wards. The dogs often help long term patients relax and chat about their own pets and help them feel that they are in a more normal, homely environment. 

Beauty therapy

We are looking for volunteers who would be able to provide basic manicures or simple nail painting to inpatients. No experience or qualifications are required and equipment will be provided. 

Ward Assistants

Ward staff are always happy to have volunteers to lend a hand whether it be basic admin, providing companionship to patients or running errands for nursing staff, offering patients coffee and teas, providing companionship to patients around mealtimes, encouraging them to engage in their meal. This role gives you the chance to make meaningful relationships with patients whilst providing valuable support to staff. 

Key contacts

Sharon Howarth

Volunteer Coordinator (Royal Free)

020 7830 2306

Gill Hyatt-Lachs

Volunteer Team Manager (Royal Free)

020 7830 2306