Last Saturday, thanks to our donors, we sponsored an afternoon tea to thank all the volunteers who help here at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT).  This week’s blog is in honour of everyone who gives up their spare time to make a difference to our patients and staff:

This weekend more than 150 volunteers gathered at the Bristol Hotel for a thank you tea party and presentation of long service certificates. The event was sponsored by Southmead Hospital Charity and was a way of showing our appreciation for the fantastic contribution that volunteers make throughout NBT.

We currently have nearly 500 volunteers at NBT.  They work in numerous areas across the Trust – with the Chaplaincy team, as patient befrienders, as Move Makers, and in departments such as maternity.  Wherever they work, our volunteers support our patients and staff to help ensure a positive experience for everyone.

There are 130 patient befrienders on our wards.  These are volunteers who help to feed patients at lunchtime.  We even have 2 volunteers who come in at 7am to feed patients breakfast.  With so many single rooms here at Southmead Hospital, patients are often lonely and anxious, and volunteers really do bring a ray of sunshine and cheer patients up.

This last year has seen a new type of volunteer for us – therapy dogs.  We currently have 3 regular dogs but there are 4 more in the pipeline who should be ready to start visiting soon.  The dogs focus on our elderly and neurological wards and visit patients under the guidance of the nursing staff.  We have had an amazing, positive response from our patients.

Our volunteer Move Makers have now completed 3 years’ service – not bad when they were only intended to be here for 3 weeks!  The Atrium buggy in our Brunel building, driven by the Move Makers and jointly funded by Southmead Hospital Charity, has been with us for nearly 2 years and is currently providing a valuable service helping to transport over 5,000 passengers a month – that’s over 90,000 since its delivery.

Volunteers give over 50,000 valuable hours a year to our Trust which is hugely appreciated by our patients, staff and visitors.  We are grateful to everyone (including our four-legged volunteers) who give us their time.

If you are interested in joining the fantastic team of volunteers, we would love to hear from you :  please contact or


Gill Brook

Head of Patient Experience