Volunteering

We have a number of volunteers in the trust, including members of the public, service users and carers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information about volunteering

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for us. We are so grateful for the amount of interest we have had.

We are unable to take any more requests to temporarily volunteer with us during COVID-19.

However you can still volunteer for us in one of our long-term roles below.

If you would like to support us and learn more about what we are doing, you can sign up to become a member of our trust.

Keep up-to-date with the latest information, read our page on Coronavirus.

Why volunteer?

We have hundreds of volunteers in our trust, including members of the public, service users and carers.

The trust operates eight community hospitals, plus health clinics and health centres across Kent. Volunteers can offer a range of skills and experience to help the trust and complement our staff.

Anyone aged over 16 (18 and over in clinical areas) can volunteer.

There are many benefits to volunteering, including:

  • learning new skills and knowledge
  • contributing to other people’s wellbeing
  • personal achievement, increased confidence and self-esteem
  • community involvement
  • meeting new people and reducing isolation
  • having fun.

We have always looking at ways of supporting our volunteers, recognising their massive contribution to KCHFT and working to recruit more, which you can read in our Volunteer Strategy.

How much time do I need to devote?

From a few hours a week to a few hours per month – it is up to you. Some people volunteer more frequently. All we ask is that volunteers are reliable and willing to give time on a regular basis.

What you can expect

  • We will support you by providing a thorough induction and supervision
  • You will have access to training to help you complete your role
  • You will  have access to additional training that may be useful to you
  • We will pay travel expenses in line with our reimbursement policy
  • You will receive a newsletter and regular communication updates
  • You can use the expertise of the volunteer service department, if you need it.

Roles

There are hundreds of roles a volunteer can have in the NHS. For example, you could be a ward activity assistant, do some reception work, be a service volunteer or cardiac rehabilitation volunteer. Or maybe you would prefer to be administrative or clerical support, a ward visitor or helper with the chaplaincy, an arts and craft maker or an events helper. Volunteers get involved with baby clinics, tea shops, hospital shops, trolley services, dining companions, gardening and are often meet and greeters or help with PAT dogs.

Volunteer stories

It's a privilege to work with KCHFT colleagues

Since giving up work in 2013, Jane Frith has been a highly valued member of the patient engagement network (PEN) at KCHFT.

Jane, 66 from Tunbridge Wells, works alongside KCHFT colleagues in a variety of ways by providing ideas and suggestions from a patient or service user’s perspective.

Jane sits on interview panels, carries out PLACE inspections, and We Care visits and is a member of several groups including infection prevention and control, mortality review surveillance and sexual health.

Jane said: “It helped me when I gave up full-time work because I was worried about going from that to nothing. In my career as a nurse, then in teaching, I was ruled by the clock. Being part of the PEN fits my criteria for volunteering perfectly. What I do for KCHFT is flexible and never the same week to week.”

“I find it rewarding and stimulating working with KCHFT colleagues to plan and deliver services and it is a huge compliment to be asked my opinion. I am also thanked and recognised for my contribution regularly by the engagement team.

“I must bore people rigid because I am always telling them what a buzz and a privilege it is to be involved with KCHFT in the way I am.”

If you would like a patient or carer representative to join your group, committee or interview panel please contact the engagement team on 01233 667810 or email us at kentchft.engagement@nhs.net

Jess gets stuck into her new role

Here is a picture of Jess getting stuck into her new role in the kitchen at Edenbridge Memorial Hospital.

Jess Webster, a 29-year-old swimming instructor from Crayford, has been volunteering alongside the hospital’s cook for the Kent Community Hospital Foundation Trust, preparing meals for patients and colleagues, washing up and doing tea rounds.

Jess said: “When I was furloughed from my job I decided I’d like to use my time helping people. I completed the volunteer application form and got a role at Edenbridge. When volunteered I thought I’d be asked to do something like shopping for a vulnerable person. I didn’t know I could work in a hospital kitchen and be part of a team. I do three days a week, 9am to 3pm and I really look forward to it.”

Maria Swaby, Volunteer Services Manager at KCHFT said: “Jess was one of the first people to submit her application and, with swift replies from her references and DBS check, I was able to place her quickly. Well done to Jess for everything she is doing to support our patients and colleagues at Edenbridge Memorial Hospital.”

Mark didn't think twice before volunteering

With a niece who has just qualified as a doctor, and a hospital matron for a sister-in-law, Mark Vooght didn’t think twice about using his time in furlough to volunteer with the Trust.

53-year-old Mark, from Medway, initially applied through the national database and was advised to approach a local trust, which he did. After completing the application process Mark, who has spent 30 years working in legal services digital printing, was placed at Faversham Cottage Hospital.

Mark said: “I have been delivering urgent letters, making up patient note packs, collecting a generous donation of toiletries and running errands. I am happy to do anything I can to help and I enjoy the variety.”

“During this time I would rather be doing something and I am lucky to be in a position to be able to give something back to those who need it.”

Breastfeeding volunteers in Shepway and Swale graduation

Congratulations to the new breastfeeding volunteers of Shepway and Swale who had their joint graduation celebration on Thursday, 12 December 2019 at the Village Children’s Centre, Folkestone. They had an early surprise visit from santa who was happy to supply gifts to the children present.

The breastfeeding volunteers are a valuable addition to the breastfeeding drop in groups that the health visiting teams are delivering in the children centres across Kent.

The volunteers are valued not only by the mothers that they support but also the health visiting teams. Some of the volunteers have been very active in their communities and are striving to normalise breastfeeding.

New Breastfeeding training cohort’s for 2020

Anyone who might be considering the training or would like to talk to someone about it please contact the infant feeding team on kentchft.infantfeedingteam@nhs.net or by contacting your local children’s centre.

Help protect your patients - Junetta Whorwell

Junetta WhorwellIt’s very reasonable for our patients, clients, volunteers and service users to want to know if colleagues have had the flu jab.

This includes one of our patient representatives, Junetta Whorwell, pictured.

Junetta is a former state registered nurse (SRN) and health visitor and has had cancer.

She said: “Having the flu jab is the responsible thing to do when you are coming into contact with patients who are unwell and could pass something on.

“My oncologist told me it was important to try to protect myself. I have the flu jab myself and I ask any health worker I come into contact with if they are protected.

“I help at my GP surgery with the patient participation group and welcome patients who come in. It’s up to all of us to get protected.” 

Contact us

kentchft.engagement@nhs.net

Maria Swaby
Volunteer Service Manager
Trinity House
Eureka Business Park
110 / 120 Upper Pemberton
Ashford
TN25 4AZ

01233 667810

Want to become a volunteer? Complete our volunteers enquiry form.

Together we will reset and reimagine

Message from Paul Bentley, Chief Executive

What makes people want to volunteer? The reasons are different for each person, but it may be because they want to help their local community or perhaps support the NHS. It could be that they have some time on their hands or that they feel a little lonely.

Whatever the reason, we are so lucky to have our army of volunteers at KCHFT and I want to say a big thank you to them all for the help they give all-year round and especially so during the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s Volunteers’ Week, from Monday, 1 June to Sunday, 7 June and so it’s fitting that we celebrate the 500 volunteers we have at KCHFT. The roles our volunteers carry out are diverse and that is one of the things that makes them such a valuable resource for our patients, clients, service users and colleagues.

It has, without doubt, been a strange few months. In the early days of COVID-19 pandemic, we received more than 150 new enquiries to volunteer with us, and we successfully deployed 25 new volunteers to help in our community hospitals and making deliveries to patients at this time.

Many of our existing volunteers have continued in their roles, such as Joanne Wigginton who supports the Health Visiting Team in Gravesend. Jess Webster was recruited during COVID-19 and is volunteering in the kitchen at Edenbridge and District War Memorial Hospital, preparing meals for patients and colleagues, washing up and doing tea rounds. Another volunteer, Mark Vooght, is at Faversham Cottage Hospital during his time on furlough. He has been delivering urgent letters to patients, making up patient notes packs and running errands at the hospital.

In the coming days and weeks, we are working to reset our services, using a structured approach to make sure we maintain safe delivery across every area of our work. We have many new roles in development as well as having our valued volunteers back in their roles.

With their help, and yours, we can reset and reimagine the work we do and the care we deliver to our patients. All of you truly make our lives a little brighter.

Thank you for all that you do.