Volunteer Service

The volunteers get together for a coffee morning held at Sandwell Hospital.

Volunteers are an important part of our hospitals. They contribute their time and expertise in a variety of ways. Volunteering is an unpaid role but does not replace the role of the paid staff at the Trust. Instead, it adds value and  complements the care provided by our staff.




(L-r) Volunteer Debby Jones, with Your Trust Charity Finance and Admin Officer, Ola Odubanjo.

If you want to make a difference to our patients, come and join our dedicated team of volunteers.
SWBH is developing its network of volunteers to support the Trust, its patients and visitors in a whole host of activities. Our volunteers provide invaluable support and make a real difference to people’s lives. We are expanding our team and welcome in new members who are keen to help, wherever and for as long as you can. There are volunteering opportunities at Sandwell, City, Rowley Regis, Leasowes, and the Heart of Sandwell Day Hospice.

In our Volunteer service there are five main areas in which you can be involved:

  • Wayfinding – helping direct people through the Trust’s sites, buildings and facilities; helping people check-in for their appointments and escorting them to their appointments, etc.
  • Helping our patients take part in activities while they are being cared for by our services
  • Assisting patients at mealtimes, either in hospital or in the community
  • Helping new mothers with activities such as nursing and breastfeeding
  • Helpforce which will focus on helping patients during those critical moments in hospital

We also have links with charities such as Agewell, and you can opt to volunteer with us through them.

Volunteers undergo a training session.

Volunteers also undergo training sessions when they join us. You can find out more about these sessions and what they involve, by calling a member of the team, via the “contact us” page.







If you live locally to your chosen hospital and are 16 years or over then you can apply to become a volunteer.

Volunteer Service team: (L-r) Liza Gill, Kajal Sondhi, Jonathan Maddison, and Pat Hunt.

All you need is:

  • The ability to be part of a team
  • The ability to communicate clearly with patients and visitors
  • The ability to adhere to confidentiality procedures
  • To be able to interact with patients, visitors and colleagues in a non-discriminatory manner

If you are interested in volunteering at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, please click on the relevant link below to be taken to our online application form:

If you have any further questions, please call 0121 507 4855 or email swbh.volunteer@nhs.net

We are now recruiting volunteers into the roles listed below:

Do you volunteer at one of our hospitals? Would you like to tell your story to encourage more people to volunteer? Call the Volunteer Service on 0121 507 4855 to share your experience.

Marcia Shuter who scooped Volunteer of the Year in the Trust’s Star Awards.

Marcia Shuter, 70, of Great Barr, is a volunteer at Sandwell Hospital’s Newton 5 ward. In October, she scooped a Star Award, the Trust’s annual ceremony recognising staff and volunteers at our organisation. She said: “I wanted to give something back to the staff who worked there as I witnessed first-hand the excellent care they were giving to my husband, so I decided to volunteer.
“When I started I really did enjoy it. John wasn’t always on the ward when I was volunteering, but when he was, it was lovely being close to him.”
John, who worked as an electrical and hydraulics engineer, passed away in April, 2017, aged 69 from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in Newton 5 with Marcia by his side.  He had battled the disease for 12 years.
Marcia, a mum-of-two, added: “He died in exactly the place that he wanted to be in, with all the doctors and nurses there that had taken care of him over the years. About two weeks later I returned to volunteering and I received a tremendous amount of support from everyone.”
Marcia continues to volunteer for two afternoons a week on the ward, where she makes teas and coffees for staff and patients. She also sits with patients and keeps them company whilst they are undergoing treatment.
“I love volunteering at the hospital,” she added.

Kam Duggal, 46, of Handsworth, is a volunteer at The Lyng Centre, West Bromwich. She found out about the service from her sister, who recommended she try it out.
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant – I love being a volunteer,” said mum-of-two Kam.
“I love helping people. My role is about getting people get into the right area and it’s great when you see the relief on their faces because I have assisted them.
“I get to meet so many different people and they have lots of stories to tell. The staff at The Lyng Centre are lovely and we all get on really well. The role also gets me out of the house, and the hours suit me very well.
“I would highly recommend volunteering to people out there.”

What our staff say about volunteers

Breastfeeding volunteer Wirginia Kola.

Louise Thompson, Infant Feeding Co-ordinator, said: “Currently we have volunteers working as ‘wayfinders’ in the maternity reception at City Hospital. They have had a positive impact on helping patients find the area that they need and offer a friendly welcome to all visiting maternity department. Two of the volunteers Wirginia (see right) and Kim have completed breastfeeding peer support training with Sandwell Breastfeeding Network. They are able to offer much needed feeding support to new mums on the postnatal wards. Breastfeeding peer support has a positive impact on breastfeeding duration which is a public health issue.”

Michael Beech, Senior Charge Nurse, AMU & West Midlands Poisons Unit, City Hospital, said: Just wanted to let you know about the effect that our volunteers have had on our unit. They have integrated into the team seamlessly, their assistance can make a hard day much easier, it really is heart-warming to see someone who has given up their own time to sit and chat with patients.”

Pam Towers, service manager for Medical Records, said: We have quite a few volunteers within our department and it is working very well.
“The uniforms provided are a great way for patients to identify them and they appreciate the help and friendly face.  From a manager’s point of view it helps support the reception staff when they get caught up with a more complicated issue and are unable to assist when there is more than one patient to support.”

Laura Young, Group Lead Nurse within Surgery B at Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital (BMEC), added: BMEC have been fortunate in utilising volunteers in different roles.  The wayfinders in BMEC Out Patients Department provide an invaluable resource in supporting our visually impaired clients in using the automated check- in desks and ensuring that they safely reach the correct destination. This has helped to reduce the anxiety around attending appointments for many of our patients.  The process of volunteering is a two way activity, Surgery B take their social responsibilities seriously and have been delighted to work with a volunteer within an administration role, supporting this individual to gain confidence in a work environment.”

Sally Neilson, Assistant Operational Manager for Maternity and Neonates, Women and Child Health Clinical Group, says: “Volunteers have been helping in Maternity Antenatal Clinic at City Hospital since the beginning of February 2016. There are a small team of female volunteers who cover the Antenatal Clinic reception area at different times and days of the week.  Easily identifiable in their bright blue and yellow volunteer uniform and Trust name badge, the lovely team of ladies who have given up their own time to come and help us, stand at the front of the reception area, meeting and greeting our patients and their families and friends with a smile and helping them with any queries or concerns they may have and navigate their way around the self-check in kiosks, particularly if it is their first visit to the Clinic.

“Their duties are primarily to assist and direct patients and their families through the reception area and to ensure they are in the right area of clinic in time for their appointment.  They strive to improve the patient experience and help to alleviate the anxiety felt by some of our patients whilst in the clinic/hospital environment.

“I asked one of our volunteers about her role and she told me the following: ‘It is brilliant standing at the front of reception with a smile.  Patients are very happy to receive my help, say thank you and make me feel very much needed and appreciated.  I look forward to coming every time and really enjoy it.  I feel like I am always smiling’.

“We very much appreciate the assistance given by the volunteers who have very quickly become part of our team.  They are reliable and hardworking, they are an asset to our service and we would like to thank them very much for giving up their valuable time to help our patients and their families.”

Below are our latest press releases about the Volunteer Service

January 26, 2018
Press Release

Hospital Trust in appeal for knitted boobs to help train breastfeeding support volunteers.

A West Midlands hospital trust is appealing for knitters to get creative by making breasts which will be used to help train up breastfeeding support volunteers. 

The infant feeding team from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has appealed for the knitted breasts as well as newborn size baby dolls with soft bodies.

Infant feeding team midwife Kirsty Dunning, volunteer Karen Gale and infant feeding coordinator Louise Thompson

They will be used to demonstrate the various ways of breastfeeding to the volunteers who will be on an eight week course learning how to support new mums.
Louise Thompson, Infant feeding co-ordinator, said: “We will be increasing the amount of support that new mums have after they have just given birth at our hospital. We are doing this by carrying out an eight week training course which will ensure they will learn all the basics of breastfeeding and peer support.
“We know that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby but eight out of 10 mums stop doing this before they want to. However, by carrying out this training, it means we will be able to give further help to mums on postnatal wards, so they can continue breastfeeding for as long as they want to. The role will also support our midwives.”
Louise added: “We will also give information on safe responsive bottle feeding for women who have made an informed decision to feed this way.”
The maternity department is housed at City Hospital, along with the midwifery-led birthing unit Serenity.
Louise added: “The course will run for eight weeks and we already have quite a few volunteers who want to take part. Other areas we will cover is how to spot signs of effective feeding, and helping a mum to feel confident and know where to get support if they encounter difficulties.
“We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to complete the training and who can commit to volunteering a few hours a week. Breastfeeding experience is desirable but not essential.”
If you would like to knit breasts for the team contact Louise on 0121 507 5328 or to become a breastfeeding support volunteer call the Volunteers Service on 0121 5074855.

December 13th, 2017
Press Release

Local NHS Trust in volunteer deal with HelpForce

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust is one of five Acute NHS Hospital Trusts working with a new organisation – HelpForce – to develop new volunteer roles and create a best practice model for volunteering in hospitals and other patient settings.
The organisation has been set up by Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, Chair of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust to accelerate improvements in the involvement of volunteers in the NHS. Backed by many healthcare and voluntary sector leaders, HelpForce wants to double the number of volunteers working in the NHS by 2021 so that more patients and NHS staff can benefit from their time, help and care. 

Trust Chief Executive Toby Lewis said: “I am pleased that we have been selected as one of the pioneer Trusts working with HelpForce to look at new opportunities for volunteers. We are committed to seeing how the NHS can make best use of the valuable contribution that volunteers make every day. We are greatly supported by hundreds of volunteers who support our hospital and community services and we work in partnership with a number of voluntary and community groups in Sandwell and West Birmingham. These strong links give us a good foundation for developing new volunteer roles that can make a difference to the experience of patients and their families.”
HelpForce is starting with a focus on critical moments in hospitals where staff and patients would benefit from additional support, for example at meal times or discharge from hospital. It is also prioritising volunteer help for patients who do not have their own family or wider support network.
Previously CEO of Marie Curie, Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett has seen the difference that volunteers can make.  He said: “NHS staff deliver brilliant medical care but both the system and our front line teams are under intense pressure. While we currently benefit from over 78,000 people volunteering with acute NHS Trusts they are rarely integrated into NHS strategies or service delivery plans and this is a missed opportunity.
“We know the benefits that well managed staff-volunteer teams bring, with substantial improvements in patient care sitting alongside positive feedback from NHS teams. We want everyone to experience these benefits as quickly as possible and have developed a focused five year plan for HelpForce to unlock the potential of volunteers across the country.”
A comprehensive report commissioned by HelpForce earlier this year highlighted growing evidence of the positive impact that the strategic use of volunteers can make. For example, volunteer support for patients’ mealtimes has shown that they eat more, and become more satisfied with their mealtime experience. A third of Trusts in NESTA’s ‘Helping in Hospital’ programme found better patient mood, nutrition and hydration levels, and that volunteering released time to care.
To become involved in the programme or volunteer at the Trust please call the Volunteer Service on 0121 507 4855.


December 8th, 2017
Press release

Number of volunteers at hospital trust reaches record number

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has marked the recruitment of its 200th Volunteer by appealing for more people to join the team.
The Volunteer Service has been building up a team of recruits to help around its sites. The Trust runs Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals, as well as Leasowes Intermediate Care Centre. Volunteers are placed at all four sites, as well as the new day hospice.

The service aims to reach a target of 460 recruits by September next year. Liza Gill, Volunteers service manager at the Trust, said: “We are so pleased to have reached our 200th recruit. We have a varied range of roles for volunteers within the Trust and we intend on increasing their presence across all sites over the coming months.
“There will also be an opportunity for volunteers at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, when it opens in 2019. Our volunteers are very enthusiastic about their role within the NHS and staff really value their support.”
Areas covered will now include Cardiology, Cardiac Rehab, the Lyng Centre, Imaging, Medical Illustration, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre’s Outpatient’s Department, A&E at City and the Vascular Department.
There are a number of roles available which include wayfinding, helping patients during meal times, taking part in activities with patients, and also volunteering in the new Heart of Sandwell Day Hospice.
Kam Duggal, 46, of Handsworth, has recently become a volunteer. She found out about the service from her sister, who recommended she try it out.
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant – I love being a volunteer,” said mum-of-two Kam, who has been based at The Lyng Centre, in West Bromwich, since June.
“I love helping people. My role is about getting people get into the right area and it’s great when you see the relief on their faces because I have assisted them.
“I get to meet so many different people and they have lots of stories to tell. The staff at The Lyng Centre are lovely and we all get on really well. The role also gets me out of the house, and the hours suit me very well.
“I would highly recommend volunteering to people out there.”
Jacqui Moore is Ward Manager on Priory 5 and has taken on six volunteers in the past 12 months. She said they perform a range of duties, from making tea for patients, to keeping them company and making up the beds.
“Over the year we have found the volunteers extremely helpful and it also means our nurses can focus on their clinical duties,” she said.
“We have had a diverse range of people with various abilities. We have a medical student starting soon who wants to broaden his knowledge of patients and also build up his communication skills with them. There have also been some trainee nurses who have joined us as volunteers.
“I would encourage wards across the Trust to take on volunteers.”


Meet our dedicated team who run the Volunteers Service, Patricia Hunt, Liza Gill, Jonathan Maddison and Kajal Sondhi.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering, and the roles we have available, please contact a member of the team and they will be happy to speak to you in more detail.

Patricia Hunt
0121 507 5406

Liza Gill
0121 507 4891

Jonathan Maddison
0121 507 2653

Kajal Sondhi
0121 507 5367

Alternatively you can contact the Volunteers Service by calling  0121 507 4855 or emailing them at






Our Trust Chaplaincy also recruit volunteers of all faiths to comfort and encourage patients and their relatives during their stay  in hospital. For more details contact Rev Ann Stevenson or Rev Mary Causer by emailing them at annstevenson@nhs.net or mary.causer@nhs.net.

We are one of five pilot Trusts in the country working with Helpforce, an organisation looking to increase the number of volunteers within the NHS. They are on hand to support staff, which means clinicians are able to focus on patient care. For more information click here.

The charity Agewell runs a shop, situated in the outpatients area of Sandwell Hospital. All proceeds will go towards helping older people in need. The shop sells a range of items including sandwiches, snacks, drinks, toiletries and newspapers.
A trolley service is also run by Agewell and makes its rounds twice a day at Sandwell Hospital.

The League of Friends volunteers run shops, book sales and take trolleys around the wards at Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals and the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, which is also based at City Hospital.
For further information on the League of Friends at the Trust then please contact 0121 507 2865/5054 or ask at the shop in Main Reception, Sandwell Hospital.

We work closely with Kissing it Better (KIB), which is a non-profit organisation, which brings in young people from local schools and colleges to enhance the lives of our patients. They regularly visit our Trust, where they will sing, dance, act, read and carry out hair and beauty treatments, all for our patients. For more information about KIB go to https://kissingitbetter.co.uk/.

We provide two levels of breastfeeding training designed for mums who have breastfed. This can be provided as part of a Peer Support project or as a stand-alone activity to increase breastfeeding awareness and support in a specific area. We are also able to deliver training to health professionals or other customer-facing staff, to increase their knowledge of how to support a breastfeeding mother. For more information, go to www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk.