Volunteers Frequently Asked Questions

Our volunteers provide a life changing service to our patients and staff in so many ways.  If you can spare just a few hours a week to become part of our amazing team, you will be able to see the difference you can make.
It’s an amazing way to give something back to your local hospital - the one place that touches everyone’s lives in some way.  Our UHN Volunteer Services welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds, to discuss any reasonable adjustments required please contact us on 01536 491589 or email kgh-tr.volunteering@nhs.net 

Here are some frequently asked questions

What is the minimum age to volunteer?

You must be at least 16 to volunteer at the hospital.  There are a few exceptions to this, for example, you must be over 18 to volunteer in our Emergency Department (A&E), any paediatric area or as a Buggy Driver.

How long am I expected to volunteer?

We ask our volunteers to offer a minimum of 3 hours a week for at least 6 months.  Many volunteers offer more time than this and we are always happy for you to offer as much time as you are able to.

Can I volunteer just over school holidays?

Unfortunately, due to the time and cost impact on recruiting volunteers, we are unable to take on volunteers for such short period of times. However, there are always opportunities available so that you can volunteer your time in the evenings and weekends during school terms.

Will I always be volunteering in the role I am placed, or will there be other opportunities available for me to develop my skills?

There are plenty of opportunities available to our volunteers including on wards, in clinics, or in administration areas. We are happy for volunteers to experience a mixture of different roles; however, we do however ask that volunteers stay in each role for at least 4 weeks.

Do you reimburse travelling expenses?

All volunteers are able to reclaim back travelling expenses i.e. fuel cost - up to the value of 15p per mile, public transport costs. Car parking is available for free in car park B, subject to availability.

Do you supply a uniform for volunteers?

All volunteers are supplied with a red polo shirt for use whilst volunteering. You will then just need to keep in line with the trusts uniform policy; which requests that you do not wear denim, anything with logos, bottoms with rips or tears, or open toed footwear. We also operate a bare below the elbows policy in clinical areas so you will also need to remove any jewellery worn below the elbow and nail polish or false nails (with the exception of a Kara or plain wedding band). If your hair is longer than chin length, you will also be required to tie this back in clinical areas.

I have health or support needs; can I still volunteer?

We will make every effort we can to ensure that you are able to volunteer with us. During the interview and clearance process, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions specific to your own health or support needs that might impact your volunteering role.

Please be aware on exceptional occasions reasonable adjustments may not be possible in all roles, and are subject to clearance through occupational health. 

How soon after applying can I start volunteering?

The safety of our patients, staff and volunteers is of utmost importance. As a result, there are a number of checks that go in place before anyone is able to start volunteering at Kettering General Hospital. On average, the time taken between interview and starting is 4-6 weeks.
The time taken is dependent on a variety of factors including.
  • Your return of the required signed documents and requested ID,
  • Completion of your Occupational Health portal,
  • Time taken for your referees to respond,
  • Time taken for the DBS certificate to be processed,
  • Time taken for you to complete the trusts online training course.

How is volunteering different to work experience or shadowing?

Volunteering is a long-term commitment requiring 3-4 hours a week or a minimum of 6 months. This allows you to make a real difference to patients and support the staff during your time volunteering with us. Volunteering does not involve shadowing nurses or doctors.

What experience is required to volunteer?

For the majority of roles, no prior experience is required to become a volunteer and we take pride in the fact that many people use volunteering as an opportunity to gain the experience required to further their career in health care.
Please note; if you wish to help as a Volunteer Administrator, we do request a basic level of computer literacy.

Can you provide me with a reference once I become a volunteer?

We can only provide a reference for you once you have volunteered for six months. If you require a reference before these six months, then we will consider this on an individual basis.

Can I transfer my existing volunteering to/from Kettering to/from another hospital?

No. All NHS trusts have their own recruitment process, and it is therefore not possible to transfer between sites. The only exception is with Northampton General Hospital as we are part of the same group.

I have a disability can I volunteer?

We welcome volunteers with disabilities and can offer a wide range of roles suitable for many needs. We can make reasonable adjustments throughout the application, recruitment, and deployment as a volunteer. If you need assistance to complete an application please contact us, and we will book an appointment for you with the team. 

I have a query that is not covered above, who should I contact?

Please speak to a member of the Volunteer Services team if you have any further questions.