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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together
Become a volunteer

Become a volunteer

“Volunteering is an activity that is undertaken as an act of free will without concern for financial gain.”
- Volunteering England – Volunteers across the NHS: improving the patient experience and creating a patient-led service, 2006.

Our volunteers:

  • 18 years old - but there's no upper age limit
  • anyone can apply to a planned volunteer placement
  • can access training and development
  • are reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses
  • do not get paid for any tasks they do
  • do not replace paid staff roles
  • are not employees


What are out-of-pocket expenses?

Expenses are the costs you have to pay in order to fulfil a volunteer placement eg. bus or train fares to/from your place of volunteering, meals bought while volunteering, and any special clothing or equipment needed to carry out your voluntary duties.

Does volunteering affect any benefit I claim?

You can be a volunteer if you’re getting State benefits and, in nearly all cases, your benefits are not affected. For more information see the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) leaflet, Guidance on Volunteering if you're Claiming State Benefits.


How are volunteers recruited?

All expressions of interest received are considered by our volunteer service and suitable applicants are invited to attend an interview/informal chat.

Prior to appointment we have to carry out some legal and mandatory checks to ensure we comply with the NHS Employment Check Standards, 2010. These include: 

  • Ensuring you have a right to work (including in a voluntary role) in the UK
  • Verifying your identity (photo ID and proof of address)
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), for roles with patient contact
  • Occupational health checks
  • Two references covering the last 3 years


Successful applicants also must accept our Volunteer agreement and Volunteer Policy and our Confidentiality agreement and together we will agree the tasks to be undertaken on placement and a start date.

See our volunteering leaflet here.

See our 7 pre-placement volunteer checks here.

What do volunteers do at your Trust?

Our volunteers choose from a range of roles which may include facilitating art sessions, playing music on wards, meeting and greeting people attending clinics, supporting patients to complete satisfaction surveys, helping service users learn computer skills, to visiting inpatients or activity helper type roles assisting service users with ward-based recreational activities.

What support and supervision would I get?

Your support and supervision starts as soon as you are recruited and you will attend a Trust induction session and complete some online training before you begin your voluntary role.

On your first day you will be welcomed by your volunteer supervisor who will oversee your role and the tasks you do and introduce you to members of staff or volunteers who will support you at the Trust.

It takes time to get to know people and to build up trust. Therefore to ensure we do not disappoint and do offer the best experience to our service users and patients we ask for a reliable commitment from volunteers over a minimum or 6 months or 100 hours.

You will have a specific role and will be given a written list of your tasks. You will also get training for your role, local induction meeting, staff contacts and you will be able to access support from our Learning and Development team. In addition, you will be able to discuss and review your tasks regularly with your volunteer supervisor.

More details

For more information on becoming a volunteer at our Trust contact our volunteers service by emailing: bsmhft.volunteering@nhs.net or phoning 0121 301 3970.

You can also find information on volunteering in the NHS on the NHS Choices website, and opportunities at other organisations on the Do It website.