Volunteering

Volunteers play an important role in our Trust by providing additional services to our patients and supporting the Trust’s work in a variety of ways.

People volunteer for lots of different reasons. For instance they may be wanting to use their free time in an enjoyable and positive way, to ‘give something back’ to a service which has helped them or someone they know, to share their knowledge and experience, to meet new people or to gain valuable experience for work or further education.

Because most roles will involve contact with vulnerable adults, our volunteers must be able to provide two character references, pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, pass an Occupation Health check (drivers only) and be prepared to undergo relevant training.

For a full list of our current volunteering roles please see the below.

If you are over 18, can commit to at least 6 months with us for at least 3 -5 hours each week, we’d love to hear from you. Please call us for more information/application form on:

West Kent – (01622) 723215 – Stephen Tucker

East Kent - (01227) 812137 – Zoe Young

North West Kent – 07717 580 279 - Kirsty Newton

Friends of Mental health

Friends for Mental Health (East Kent) and the Friends of Mental Health (West Kent and Medway) consist of volunteers who dedicate their time to raise funds. Find out more about the Friends of Mental Health.

Volunteering Roles

Dementia Ally

This role is based in various location in the Canterbury District (Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Faversham and Sandwich.)

The aim of the volunteer Dementia Ally is to reduce the impact of Dementia on the lives of those recently diagnosed. Dementia Allies are people living with dementia who offer emotional and practical support based on their own experiences to others who have recently been diagnosed. Allies will offer their support face-to-face and will be accompanied by a Dementia Support Worker from the Alzheimer's Society. Allies may also attend local post-diagnostic courses and other relevant groups to promote their service.

This role will be suitable for anyone who is living with dementia and willing to share their experiences with others. You will be happy to talk to others in a similar situation.

You are not expected to know everything about dementia. Each person is an individual and all meetings are supported by a member of staff from the Alzheimer's Society who can offer additional information as needed

Mother and Baby Unit Befriender

Befrienders are needed to work with the new Mother & Baby Unit in Dartford. You will build a rapport with patients, engaging with them in conversation and activities, and accompanying them on short walks in the immediate area.

You could be helping with arts and crafts, or it could be cooking, relaxation classes, or whatever it is that patients are involved in. Due to the nature of the patients we would ask that volunteers be able to commit to regular visits and it would be helpful if volunteers had some hospital/healthcare experience or experience of working with parents, but this is not essential.

You must be comfortable working with patients. You must be able to demonstrate common sense, empathy, and be non-judgemental. An enhanced DBS check will be made.

In return you will gain experience working in a mother & baby unit, work in a health setting, gain confidence and experience. You will also receive full training and support.

Pamper Group Volunteer

What we are looking for are people who would like to visit our patients and give them a mini-pamper session - helping with make-up, nail-polishing, trimming hair. That kind of thing.

You will be expected to engage with patients in a friendly manner and help them to feel special and promote well-being and self-esteem.

Sessions can be long or short, as suits you.

You will need to have appropriate qualifications in hairdressing, beauty treatment or similar fields (or working towards them) or provable career record in a suitable field .

Discussion Support Volunteer

This role will be based in Medway only.

Our Chaplaincy team seeks to help our service users, of all faiths and none, with pastoral, spiritual, and religious needs.

As part of this we run a Mental Health Fellowship, weekly on Monday afternoons, with a small group of service and ex-service users where we informally discuss the big questions of life through a faith and mental health lens.

Could you come and support the service users and chaplain as we debate these topics? You will be required to welcome people to the group, encourage members as necessary. Activities will include supporting members and being able to join in discussion as needed.

Complementary Therapy Volunteer

We are looking for a volunteers who would be interested in visiting our wards and patients to offer various different complementary therapy experiences. These could include (but are not limited to) touch therapy/hand massage, reiki, reflexology, aromatherapy, and homeopathy.

Such activities are valued by our patients because they find it calming and helps them relax. Being in hospital can be stressful and these kinds of activities can be soothing.

You will need to have relevant qualifications (or working towards them) or provable career record in suitable field.

You must have a recognised qualification (or be working towards one) or a provable career record in a suitable field).

You will be volunteering in a mental health setting so you must be comfortable in that environment. We will also have to do a DBS background check. 

Recovery and Wellbeing College

Based in Thanet we are offering an educational programme of recovery & wellbeing focused workshops and courses, which have all been co-produced by service-users and professionals. We have three different roles for volunteers to get involved with.

Classroom Support - In this role you will provide classroom assistance for any student needing one-to-one support with their learning, which may be helping someone take notes or assisting with any written exercises. You will share coping, self-help and self-management techniques within the peer relationship, support students to identify and overcome fears and challenge negativity.

Meet & Greet - These volunteers provide support to students arriving at the college, make them feel welcome and provide a friendly face. This is an important role, as some students may be attending alone and may feel nervous or apprehensive about attending classes.

Enrolment Support - In this role you will promote the college and encourage people to enrol in the courses provided. You will be supporting people to access an online enrolment system, or enrol by telephone, or in person onsite at Adult Education centres in Thanet.

Donated Clothes Co-ordinator

Volunteers who are kind, patient, and comfortable working in a mental health environment are needed to manage donated clothes.

You will organise the donations, catalogue donated items, arrange clothing into labelled boxes according to size and garment. You will keep the cupboard tidy and in order and ensure the clothes are of good and clean condition. It will be important that you can help create a pleasant atmosphere for staff and service users.

You must be able to work as part of a team and previous experience of working in a hospital/healthcare setting would be beneficial. We would ask that you be able to offer a minimum of a six month commitment. You will receive induction, training, and support.

Hospital Radio Volunteer

Our hospital in Canterbury is looking for volunteers to help run a radio show for our patients. You will be working across our hospital and the studios at Canterbury Christ Church university.

Your role will be primarily one of a producer – planning programmes, arranging for guests, putting together playlists, creating content, and managing social media input.

You will also have to ensure that the programme complies with Ofcom’s broadcasting laws (training will be given).

And if you feel up to it then maybe you could have a go at being the show presenter as well!

Drivers

We require owner-drivers to pick up patients and take them to various locations. Journeys can be long or short.

Journeys could be patient only or could include family members or staff, and may include some luggage. You will be transporting people who have a mental health condition and so sensitivity, understanding and patience are essential.

You will be using your own vehicle and will be made petrol costs based on your mileage. You will also have to have an Enhanced DBS check made. Full training and support will be offered.

Gardeners

Develop your green fingers and help maintain our gardens! You will help with pruning, weeding, planting, keeping borders trim, watering, and taking pride in your patch! You will be volunteering in an area with patients who have mental health issues so you must be comfortable in that environment.

Gardening experience would be ideal, as is a caring attitude, ability to listen, and someone who likes a chat. We will have to undertake an Enhanced DBS check. In return we offer full induction, training and support.

Befrienders

If you like meeting different people, if you like chatting, if you are a kind and non-judgemental person, if you are good at listening, have patience, are kind and understanding, then you would make an ideal befriender!

A befriender is someone who will regularly visit patients and build a rapport with them, engage in conversation and accompany patients on walks around the hospital grounds. You will be working with patients who have a mental health problem so will need to be understanding and thoughtful. We will have to undertake an enhanced DBS check on all volunteers. In return you will receive a full induction, training, and supporting and support.

Committee members/trustees for our Friends of Mental Health

The Friends of Mental Health is a charity that helps patients and families who have mental health problems – both in hospital and in the community. They need Committee Members who can help govern the group’s activities. This could be fundraising, administrative tasks, finance, and many other activities the Friends take part in.

You must have the ability to work as part of a team, able to engage with a wide range of people, experience of working with people with a mental health problem would be an advantage, and have good communication skills. You will be volunteering in a mental health environment so we will have to conduct an Enhanced DBS check. In return you can expect to be part of a fun and creative team, receive full support, induction and training.

Café helper

Volunteers who are kind, patient, and comfortable working in a mental health environment are needed to help in our café. You will be helping to support the café manager, preparing snacks and light lunches, drinks, taking orders from customers, and help keep the area clean.

It will be important that you can help create a pleasant atmosphere for staff and customers, you must be a good listener and non-judgemental. You must be able to work as part of a team, it would be beneficial (though not essential) that you have experience working with people with mental health issues, catering experience, or have worked in healthcare before. In return we offer full training and support and a pleasant volunteering environment. Due to the fact that you will be working with vulnerable people an Enhanced DBS check will be made.

Trolley helpers

The Ward Trolley volunteer will have responsibility for taking the refreshments trolley around the ward selling snacks and goods to staff and patients. You will take the trolley from the stock room, ensuring it is well stocked, and take it around the wards. You will also have responsibility for calculating and handling money.

Since you will be volunteering in a mental health unit you will be accompanied by a member of staff during your rounds. We would ask that you be able to offer a minimum of a six month commitment, know how to treat information confidentially, and have respect for other people. You will also have to have an Enhanced DBS check made. You will receive induction, training, and support. This would be a great opportunity to widen your experience and learn new skills.

Survey assistants

If you like meeting new people and having a good chat then this could be the ideal opportunity for you. We need volunteers to go around in small groups onto mental health wards conducting surveys with patients to ensure they are having a positive experience. You will need an understanding and empathy of mental health, a good eye for detail, and not be afraid to ask questions.

You will be working with at least one other volunteer so will not be on your own. We do ask that you are able to commit to regular times and must be able to treat everyone equally and with confidentiality and dignity. Since you will be working with vulnerable people we will have to conduct an Enhanced DBS check. We offer full training and support and you will gain valuable experience working in a mental health ward.

Chaplaincy helpers

To support the Trust’s chaplains in their work supporting patients and staff both spiritually and pastorally, specifically to help the smooth running of the Big Debate Groups, and potentially other chaplaincy-led groups. You could help to prepare for group meetings, welcome visitors, assist quieter visitors to help find their voice, or help provide guidance and support to patients.

You will need to be confident working with mental health problems, and you also need to have a good grounding within your own faith group. We will have to undertake an Enhanced DBS check and ask for two references, one of which will be from within your faith group.

Music friends

Music lovers are needed to help on our wards across the Trust. You don’t necessarily have to be able to play an instrument or be able to sing since our Music Therapy sessions are about more than just making a noise!

Of course, if you can play an instrument that would be very useful, but the sessions are also about using music to stimulate conversation with patients – perhaps talking about their favourite pieces of music, or using the CDs to prompt discussion on images on the cover or individual songs. Musicians are also needed as well. In fact, what we need are people who have a passion for music, any music, and would like to share that love with our patients by volunteering alongside the therapy team.

Therapy group co-facilitator 

Based in Maidstone, in this role you will assist staff in running the Group Therapy Sessions. It would be ideal if you have some experience of mental health. You role will include working with staff to identify risks, help service users to maintain appropriate codes of conduct, give time to enable service users to use peer support services. You will need to be a caring and patient person, ideally with some experience of mental health services, and be non-judgemental.

In return you will get experience of working in a mental health environment, will receive a full induction, training and support. Due to the fact that you will be working with vulnerable adults we will have to do an Enhanced DBS check.

Meet and greet 

The main role of a Meet & Greet volunteer is to make people welcome and comfortable when they arrive. You could be helping staff, patients, families, or other visitors. Tasks might include keeping information leaflets up to date, responding to queries, offering refreshments, helping with surveys, some administration tasks, and doing whatever it takes to ensure our guests have a positive experience.

You will be working in a mental health environment so you will need to have empathy, able to engage with a wide variety of people, and have a friendly and welcoming manner. We will have to undertake an Enhanced DBS check. You will receive a full induction, training and support.

Activity volunteer

We are looking for volunteers to bring their enthusiasm for their hobby to our patients.

It could be anything – you may enjoy a game of football, jogging, yoga, Zumba, watching birds, looking at the stars. You may play an instrument, like painting or sketching, creative writing, flower arranging. Or anything else!
If it’s something you enjoy doing with passion and enthusiasm then it could be that your passion and enthusiasm could rub off on our patients.

You will be volunteering with people who do have a mental health condition so you must be non-judgemental, patient, and understanding. We will also have to do a DBS check.

You will volunteer alongside our team of occupational therapists, showing your hobby to our patients and encouraging them to join in.

Singing and choir volunteer

Do you like to sing?

What we need is someone to help form and lead a choir! This choir will be made up of patients who have a mental health condition and are part of our forensic mental health unit.

It has long been recognised that singing has a lot of positive mental health benefits and many of our patients have said how they would like to form a choir/singing group.

You will work alongside the therapy team to provide a varied range of songs - the choice will be yours and could range from traditional to contemporary. Whatever you think the group would enjoy.

You will need to be capable and confident in working with a group of people because it will be up to yourself to organise and lead the group! 

Arts and crafts volunteer

Based in Medway. Art and crafts sessions are of great benefit to our patients and we need someone who can help the occupational therapy team in preparing for these classes. The sessions could be anything - from drawing, painting, and sketching, even to pottery sessions (we have our own kiln!). The team are happy for someone who has other arts and crafts interests so they can expand on different activities - so whatever you are interested in will make a real difference.
You will be helping staff prepare for the session, helping patients during the class, and help clear up afterwards. You will not be on your own with patients and there will always be staff present who will be responsible for the activity.

Baking volunteer

Based in Medway. If you like baking then this might be ideal for you. Our occupational therapy team run simple baking sessions for our patients and need help from someone who can assist with preparing for the session and, more importantly, help patients during the session.
If you have a real passion for baking then maybe we could try out one or two of your own recipes!
Baking activities are normally simple and straightforward with nothing too complex. But these skills are essential for our patients because it gives them independence, living skills, and is an enjoyable activity in its own right.
You will be volunteering alongside patients with a mental health condition so you need to be comfortable with that.

Virtual tour guide volunteer

Based in Maidstone or Medway. We need volunteers who will volunteer alongside our occupational therapy team to give a talk to our patients about different places.
It could be near or far. It could be anywhere. It needs to be somewhere you've been and you are interested in. Our occupational therapy team will produce a slide show for you (with you advice on suitable images) and then you will talk to our patients about places and the images.
This will not be a formal speech! It is more likely to be an informal chat with patients, working with the occupational therapy team. Think of it more as a discussion, that you will lead.
This kind of activity is essential to our patients because it teaches them communication skills, cognitive abilities, and is relaxing and interesting for them.
If you have an interest in travel and exploring, whether it's the other side of the world or the local country park, then we'd love you to join us and tell our patients about it.

Music and movement volunteer

Based in Medway. This is a bit of a mixed volunteering opportunity. It comprises two types of activity, but both are music based.

We need someone who can help our occupational therapy team with music based activities with our patients. Music is used to both keep patients physically active and also to help develop communication skills. You will help patients with simple dance/activity to music - some of our patients are elderly so this will not be strenuous and you will need no real dance skills. It is more like movement and physical activity. We also use music to engage patients in conversation - perhaps talking about their favourite music or using the images on CD covers to base a discussion on. This is very useful for patients to develop communication skills.
But maybe you can play an instrument yourself? Or maybe you are a singer? This would also be very welcome by the team because it would allow them to expand their range of activities.

The Grove garden

Contact us and apply

The Volunteer Services Co-ordinators can help you find the right volunteer placement.

If you are over 18, can commit to at least 6 months with us for at least 3 to 5 hours each week, we’d love to hear from you.

Please call us for more information or fill out our online form below:

  • Voluntary services manager Helen Collins: 01622 723210
  • Voluntary Services Main Office: 01622 723212

Send us a message. Please use the form below:

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