What do our volunteers do?

Patient Refreshments Volunteers

Our largest volunteer group, they provide refreshments (drinks and biscuits) and friendly, supportive conversation. They are based on a ward or at one of the elderly rehabilitation units. The role gives them the chance to get to know many of the patients they support, and also to get familiar with the various roles carried out by the hospital staff. It is a role which is available during the mornings, late afternoon/early evenings and at weekends.

A refreshments volunteer laughing with a patient A refreshments volunteer helping a patient

Chemotherapy, Renal and Endoscopy Clinics

These volunteers also provide patient refreshments, but in specialist clinics where outpatients come to have procedures which are often nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. It means a lot to see a friendly face at such appointments. Our volunteers form part of a team with the clinic staff whose aim is to create the most supportive atmosphere possible.


Based at the Main Reception desk at the entrance to the hospital, the Guides welcome patients and visitors, help with orientation and offer directions. They help the reception staff provide the 'public face' of the hospital. The Guides also sometimes take people with mobility issues to the ward or clinic they need to get to.

A volunteer at the reception desk giving directions A volunteer on the main hospital reception desk

Fundraising Volunteers

These volunteers help with a variety of one-off events held to raise funds for the benefit of the hospital. They include sponsored events, running a pop-up café, selling books, bric-a-brac and handicrafts, and public collections both inside and outside the hospital.

Children’s Ward and Children’s (Outpatients) Centre

A small team of volunteers provide daytime arts, crafts and play activities for our youngest patients.

FOYH Singers

A friendly group of volunteers meet at the same time each week to lead a singalong session with patients on York Hospital’s main dementia ward, with guitar and ukelele backing. The songs are mainly from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The responses of the patients can be very heartwarming.

A group of volunteer singers

Newspaper Service

On weekday mornings teams of volunteers take trollies around the hospital, offering in-patients the opportunity to buy a newspaper from a range of national and local titles. The patients - especially those with mobility issues - love to see some friendly faces and get a link with the outside world.

Volunteers delivering newspapers

Mobile Library

Once a week a small team take the mobile library trollies to all the in-patient areas, providing a friendly face and an opportunity to borrow from an extensive range of fiction, non-fiction and general interest books. They offer newspapers at the same time.

Admin Volunteers

These volunteers carry out specific admin tasks which have been designated as helpful but non-essential. We currently provide admin help in Maternity, the Eye Clinic and in the Cardio-Respiratory department and this is much appreciated.

Find out more

For further details about what our different volunteer roles involve please refer to the Role Descriptions page here or contact Andy White our VMA.