Doing good. Making an impact.


community hospitals and services supported 



volunteers registered



volunteers achieving the NVC (National Volunteer Certificate)


How to apply

Please fill out the application form and we'll get in touch with you, or call us on 01202 443089/443029 if you want to check anything before applying.

We’ll also complete a disclosure and barring process (DBS), which checks criminal records. Not all convictions prevent you from volunteering. Please don’t worry, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Why volunteer for us?

Volunteering is a beneficial activity and great for your sense of wellbeing. It's a good way to meet people, learn new skills and give something back. If you're looking for a career in healthcare or career change it's an invaluable opportunity to gain insight with the NHS.

Plus, you will have the opportunity to achieve The National Volunteer Certificate. This is an accredited certificate that can provide a stepping stone to employment in the health and care sector or simply enhance your volunteering experience. The NVC will demonstrate you have undertaken high-quality theoretical training and completed a period of practice to be able to volunteer safely in health and care.

What opportunities are there?

Our current volunteering roles include:

  • 'Helping Hands' volunteer - based in one of our community hospitals, you could be involved in befriending patients - spending time chatting and listening, supporting with mealtimes, recreational activities such as reading and playing games or helping the staff on the ward.  Our community hospital are based in Blandford, Bridport, Swanage, Weymouth, Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Poole and Wimborne.
  • Chaplaincy team - offering kindness to patients during their hospital admission, also their carers, friends and family.  Spend time talking and listening providing emotional, social,  spiritual and multi-faith support.
  • Gardening volunteer - a healthy activity whilst helping to keep our gardens across our sites beautiful and veg patches thriving. You will be engaging with other volunteers or helping patients to enjoy the outside space.
  • 'Meet and Greet' volunteer - based at our Shelley Road site in Boscombe. At this site, our audiology service run patient facing appointments and clinics and needs 'meet and greet' volunteers to help direct people to the right place in the building and to reassure patients coming to attend appointments who may be feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed.
  • League of Friends volunteer - this is a fundraising role to support our community hospitals to provide many amenities for patients and staff that are not covered by the NHS. This can be done through running a local shop or supporting at a variety of fundraising events. More information can be found here.

Who can volunteer?

The most important thing is to be friendly, kind, caring, positive and willing to help. We welcome applications for volunteering from across the Dorset community and know that volunteers bring with them a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, skills, ages and outlooks which offer added value to our Trust services. The minimum age is 16, although in some areas of the Trust the minimum age is 18. There is no upper age limit, however you must be physically able to fulfil the duties of the role. We ask for a minimum commitment of six months to enable you to get the most out of your volunteer experience and to attend at least once a week.

Any other questions?

If you would like to ask any questions, find out more information about opportunities available, or need support with the application process please contact:

Volunteer Services
Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust
11 Shelley Road
Tel: 01202 443029
Email: dhc.volunteers@nhs.net

"Volunteering here is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel really privileged to have worked alongside many other wonderful volunteers and staff members who devote their time and skills for the benefit of others."

- Dorset HealthCare volunteer

Volunteer stories


Meet Chris & Mary

Mary first joined as a volunteer in 2019, as a keen gardener she was enthusiastic about making the patient garden at Victoria Hospital Wimborne a lovely space with beautiful planting.

There was so much to do she persuaded her husband Chris to come along too and now they come as a pair ready to tackle anything.

When needed they also expanded their volunteering delivering comfort packages to our community hospitals, which were gratefully received. 


Meet Naomi

Naomi initially joined with a view to help write an easy instruction guide for the digital ‘Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities’ which has been a great help to everyone.

Naomi came on to the ward every week taking valuable time talking to patients finding out childhood stories, working life history, likes/dislikes, hobbies, interests and family.  She can then use this information to complete the ‘This is Me’ document which helps staff know the patient in more detail.

Naomi said: “Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and is so rewarding, it makes me feel I am learning so much about the healthcare environment and I’m making a difference. It’s made me realise I want a career working with people.”

Staff member Lorraine Squire said: “Naomi is a lovely cheerful lady and an asset to the team -  her caring approach contributes to patients feeling valued.”

This is such a success story for Naomi as her volunteering has helped her achieve employment in her chosen field. 

Meet Jeff

Jeff has been volunteering at Sherborne’s Yeatman Hospital in the Willows Ward garden since August 2019. 

With a background in landscape gardening and having worked for Somerset NHS keeping hospital grounds neat and tidy in the past, we were very fortunate that Jeff brought his knowledge and enthusiasm to Yeatman. 

Jeff is all you could wish for in a volunteer - generous with his time, hardworking, knowledgeable and cheerful. Not only does Jeff keep the Willows garden beautiful, he has transformed the two end-of-life suite gardens with colour and scent. His cheerfulness is uplifting and he always has a smile and a wave for patients and staff alike.  In fact he has become a bit of a garden guru for staff too.

June McCourt, Hospital Secretary, said: “Jeff has been instrumental in helping us with a new plan to create a garden area with raised beds. Patients will be able to tend these as part of their rehabilitation, enjoy being outside and provide benefit to those missing their own gardens.”

Meet Sharon

Sharon is a Chaplaincy volunteer at St. Ann’s Hospital in Poole.

She said: “Over coffee and games, we talk amongst ourselves and wherever we have come from or whatever we are dealing with, there is something that connects us together in this space.

“The privilege of being a volunteer Chaplain is the permission to just ‘be with’. We hear too often of the pressures of life and the rushing around. Chaplaincy hopes to offer a place to allow people to just be, to meet them where they are.

“During my time with the Chaplaincy team, it has been delightful to be involved in holding church services for the patients and staff. Even last Christmas when it was not possible to travel around the units, myself, and the Chaplaincy lead (Mike Oates), filmed a nativity service for people to watch online! 

“Being a Chaplaincy volunteer is an absolute privilege and something I look forward to each week.”

Looking for our vocational volunteering page? Visit our vocational services page.

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