Celebrities reveal why they are backing Mail NHS volunteer campaign
4th December 2018

Davina McCall, Johanna Konta and Bryan Adams reveal why they are joining other celebs like Sir Tom Jones, Cliff Richard and Joanna Lumley in backing Mail NHS volunteer campaign

  • The initiative is gaining traction with the likes of Davina McCall getting on board
  • Brian Ferry, Kate Garraway, Sir Clive Woodward and others have also supported 
  • The campaign urges normal people to help the NHS as much as they can  

As momentum grew for thousands of volunteers to lend our hospitals a helping hand, more famous faces backed the Daily Mail’s campaign. Joining the likes of Sir Tom Jones, Joanna Lumley and Sir Cliff Richard are:

Joanna Trollope: ‘Most people really want to help others, but have no idea how to go about it. 

Well, here’s the answer – why not join the tens of thousands of volunteers on which the NHS depends to support its patients, thus freeing the staff to focus on highly skilled treatment and care? 

There are 300 different volunteer roles that need filling – so one of them should suit you, don’t you think?’

Author Joanna Trollope said: ‘Most people really want to help others, but have no idea how to go about it’

Davina McCall: ‘I owe so much to the fantastic healthcare staff who have helped me and my family over the years. 

Our NHS employees work so hard to look after those of us who are unwell and in need of their help. 

‘I think the Daily Mail campaign with Helpforce is a brilliant idea which could make a huge amount of difference.’

Davina McCall said: ‘I owe so much to the fantastic healthcare staff who have helped me and my family over the years.’

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Bryan Ferry: ‘I will always be grateful for the outstanding efforts the NHS and the emergency services showed in my son’s care after his terrible car accident. 

‘Helpforce’s campaign will be a great comfort to patients and an invaluable support to the hard working NHS staff.’

Bryan Ferry said: ‘I will always be grateful for the outstanding efforts the NHS and the emergency services showed in my son’s care after his terrible car accident.’

Historian Dan Snow: ‘Volunteering is good for the NHS. Good for our fellow citizens and just as importantly, good for you. 

‘My kids love doing a present run to the children in Southampton Hospital at Christmas. 

‘It’s the highlight of the festive season and obviously it’s a great comfort to the kids who are in hospital over Christmas. 

‘My dad [Peter Snow] collapsed with meningitis a few years back. The NHS team revived him, stabilised him and returned him to his old self. 

‘The nurses went above and beyond every day. The doctors were world class. Heroes.’

British tennis star Johanna Konta: ‘I am very happy to endorse the Daily Mail/Helpforce project for the NHS which looks after people when most in need.

‘It is important for those of us lucky enough to enjoy good health not to forget the kind of work done in our hospitals and I hope that people will feel able to get behind this excellent idea.’

British tennis star Johanna Konta said: ‘I am very happy to endorse the Daily Mail/Helpforce project for the NHS.’

Bryan Adams: ‘When I came off my motorcycle and broke my hand in Brixton back in 2002, I was given a cast at the local hospital and couldn’t have had better treatment. 

‘The NHS is similar to the social medicine system in Canada, where everyone is given the option to have free treatment. I wish it was the same everywhere. 

‘The call for volunteers for the NHS by Helpforce and the Daily Mail is brilliant and will hopefully bring comfort and help to those in need when their health fails. 

‘Anything to help people in need by people generously giving their time gets my support.’

Bryan Adams said: ‘Anything to help people in need by people generously giving their time gets my support.’

Maurice Saatchi: ‘The NHS doesn’t need money printed on bus sides. It needs feet on the ground. This inspired campaign will do that.’ 

Maurice Saatchi said: ‘The NHS doesn’t need money printed on bus sides. It needs feet on the ground.’

Sir Clive Woodward: ‘What a fantastic initiative from Helpforce and well done to the Daily Mail for supporting this. 

‘I would urge anybody who has an afternoon or even a day free to consider this. It’s all about teamwork and wanting to help make a difference. 

‘No matter what your politics I think we can all acknowledge that the NHS is faced with an almost impossible task caring for our growing population. 

‘Yet there are so many people out there who have a little time on their hands who would happily lend a hand dong some of the menial and support tasks. 

‘That might just free up a little more time for the professionals. They are doing great things under difficult circumstances and by supporting Helpforce we could make it just a little bit easier for them.’

Sir Clive Woodward said: ‘What a fantastic initiative from Helpforce and well done to the Daily Mail for supporting this.

Kate Garraway: ‘The NHS is something we are all proud of and grateful for and the Daily Mail’s campaign to turn our national love for the NHS into practical support is a great one. 

‘I have so many personal experiences of how the NHS has been brilliant for me, from trips to A and E with the kids for various bumps and sprains, to caring for my Uncle in his final days with Pancreatic Cancer, to recently when they treated me so brilliantly for suspected meningitis. 

‘Even though at the time I was obviously feeling very unwell, the staff were so caring and professional, it was very reassuring. I’m delighted to support this campaign and I look forward to getting stuck in with the rest of the volunteer team.’

Kate Garraway said: ‘The NHS is something we are all proud of and grateful for and the Daily Mail’s campaign to turn our national love for the NHS into practical support is a great one.’

  The roles you could play if you volunteer

If you own a dog, play an instrument, ride a motorbike or simply have time on your hands, you could take some of the strain off frontline NHS staff.

By volunteering for a series of mostly unskilled jobs – if only for a few hours a month – you’d be making a huge difference.

Depending on your circumstances and what your local hospital needs, you may even be asked to carry out more than one duty.

The list of jobs waiting to be filled by volunteers includes:

  • Helping patients and visitors upon their arrival to hospital and showing them where to go
  • Working with heart-surgery patients in the gym by assisting them with the exercise equipment
  • Going through old photos or listening to music to stimulate the memories of those with dementia
  • Providing a library service by going between wards with a trolley of books
  • Talking to anxious patients waiting in A&E, and providing tea and coffee
  • Entertaining young patients on the children’s ward by playing games or, perhaps, dressing up as a superhero
  • Offering support and comfort to bereaved families
  • Making friends with patients who don’t have any visitors and offering to read to them
  • Driving a mobility buggy to take patients with walking problems to other areas of the hospital
  • Helping patients with their meals, particularly those with dementia who struggle to eat by themselves
  • Running a singing group or a band to entertain patients on wards
  • Tending the hospital garden
  • Running errands or taking patients down to the canteen, hospital garden or the shop
  • Fetching prescription medicines for patients who are waiting to go home so they can be discharged promptly
  • Registering your dog or cat for training with the charity Pets As Therapy so you can take them into hospital to comfort patients
  • Offering support to those having cancer treatment, particularly if you have been through cancer yourself
  • Helping patients to settle in at home after they have been discharged – perhaps by checking that the heating is on and there is food in the fridge
  • Befriending elderly former patients to ensure they are coping on their own
  • Taking notes during consultations – with the consent of patients – to ensure they know exactly what their treatment will involve
  • Assisting stroke patients who have communication difficulties, and helping them to build up their confidence
  • Becoming a blood biker and delivering blood and breast milk to hospitals on your own motorcycle
  • Building up a relationship with those who have mental-health conditions and offering them practical advice and emotional support
  • Booking people into outpatient clinics and ensuring they know where they must go
  • Encouraging patients to walk about on the ward to prevent muscle deterioration and bed sores
  • Becoming a disc jockey on the hospital radio station
  • Running the trolley service that provides patients on the wards with essentials and treats
  • Asking patients to complete surveys at the end of their stay to find out what could be improved and whether there were any problems
  • Becoming a massage therapist for patients or relatives, as long as you have a recognised massage qualification
  • Providing patients with basic manicures or other beauty treatments
  • Working in the hospital shop


Join our big-hearted heroes by volunteering to help in a hospital near you for as little as one day a month – or three hours a week – for at least six months. Read all you need to know here…

Why does the NHS need volunteers?

Volunteers can help provide better experiences for patients, and free up time for healthcare workers to focus on delivering the incredible work they’ve been trained to do. And while there are thousands of volunteers carrying out vital work in the NHS, there is so much more we can do. That’s where the Join the Hospital Helpforce campaign comes in – the aim is to harness the power of dedicated and caring volunteers to create a more compassionate care system for all of us.

What is Helpforce?

It’s a charity that works with the NHS, healthcare workers and the public to promote the benefits of volunteering – helping to expand the range and quality of volunteer roles, and the number of volunteers involved in our NHS.

Are volunteers replacing staff roles?

No. They provide extra help that wouldn’t be covered by a staff role. NHS Trusts need volunteers as they provide a valuable support role to busy staff and patients who are going through a difficult time. Volunteers can make the difference to someone’s day by providing simple but significant support. Many volunteers enjoy it so much they take up employment in the NHS, helping to fill the health service’s 100,000 job vacancies.

What is the minimum number of hours I have to commit to?

Helpforce is asking people to commit to three consecutive hours a week for six months, or one day a month for six months. NHS staff say that for volunteers to make a difference, they need to commit to at least this time as this gives them continuity and a reliable source of help. You can, of course, ask to do more hours and for a longer period of time.

Do I need particular skills?

No. NHS organisations are looking for volunteers who are willing to learn. While all your skills will be useful, you will be provided with training. If you have any specific skills, please note these on your pledge when you sign up.

Is there an age limit?

Helpforce hasn’t put a maximum age as there are many examples of older volunteers doing great work. The minimum age is 16. However, not all NHS organisations are able to take volunteers until the age of 18 due to their own policies. If you are aged between 16 and 18, Helpforce will do its best to place you with a local NHS organisation but opportunities are more limited. Youth groups #iwill and the Pears Foundation are together aiming to increase the number of volunteering opportunities for young people – visit iwill.org.uk for details.

I have mobility issues, can I apply?

Yes. The NHS can accommodate volunteers with mobility issues and/or long-term conditions.

Are all UK hospitals covered?

Not all NHS organisations are able to take volunteers. Helpforce will work with those that have volunteer schemes, and are recruiting.

Can I choose which hospital I work in?

In the first instance, Helpforce will try to match you with an NHS organisation near to where you live. If your local NHS organisation doesn’t have capacity, Helpforce will – with your permission – pass your details to organisations such as the Royal Voluntary Service, Marie Curie and the British Red Cross, as they bring volunteers to work across many parts of the NHS. Some trusts hold their own waiting lists and you could be added to those if you prefer.

Can I volunteer if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

Yes – Helpforce is welcoming volunteers from across the UK.

Am I guaranteed a place?

Helpforce can’t guarantee that every person who pledges will get a place, but will endeavour to place as many people with their local NHS organisation as possible. The majority of the volunteer roles Helpforce expects to be filled through this campaign will take place in hospitals, but many volunteers will be placed in community healthcare settings to support NHS organisations.

How do I sign up?

Visit hospitalhelpforce.com and fill in the pledge form. Once you’ve completed it, you should hear back immediately with a thank you email, then again in late January or early February once Helpforce have matched you with an NHS organisation. If you don’t hear by the end of February, please go to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website.

What will the hospital want to know about me?

Once you have been matched to an NHS organisation, you will be asked to meet its volunteer co-ordinator. They will want to find out about you, your experience, interests and motivation to volunteer. You will be asked to fill in an application form.

If you both agree that you want to proceed, you will have simple health and criminal record checks – these are called an Occupational Health check and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

An Occupational Health check helps to ensure that volunteers are safe and able to work in the healthcare environment – it is usually straightforward. A DBS check enables employers to access the criminal records of current and potential employees to confirm whether they are suitable to work with vulnerable adults and children. It is a legal requirement and can take some time to complete. You may also be required to provide a reference. Your data will be fully protected throughout.

Join the hospital helpforce 

Whatever your skills or experience, you can make a valued and lasting impact. 

You will join the volunteers working in hospitals or with organisations that support the NHS, such as the Royal Voluntary Service, Marie Curie, British Red Cross, and others. 

Join us by pledging your time in 2019 at www.hospitalhelpforce.com and clicking on the ‘pledge now’ box. 

Thank you – and welcome aboard! 

What training will I get?

Training varies between NHS organisations, but all your training will help keep you safe, and give you the skills to make you feel confident when volunteering on a busy ward with staff, patients and their families. A training session would typically include some or all of the following elements: health and safety, fire training, equality and diversity, safeguarding, conflict resolution, information governance, infection control.

Are uniforms and expenses provided?

Volunteers usually wear T-shirts or uniforms provided by the NHS organisation. Helpforce recommends you discuss this with the volunteer co-ordinator when you have been placed. Each NHS organisation has its own expenses policy – again, this is something you should discuss with the volunteer co-ordinator.

How long will it take to process my request?

Helpforce is keen that you start volunteering as soon as possible, but the process may take several months. Once the charity has put your NHS organisation in touch with you it can take up to three months, and in some cases six months, before you start. This is mainly due to the time it takes to make the necessary checks, and complete the relevant training.

Is there a deadline?

You can choose to volunteer for the NHS at any time, but this campaign is being supported during December and will close at the start of January. If it isn’t a good time for you to volunteer but you may want to in the future, you can get in touch with your hospital or other NHS organisation at a later date. You can also look at volunteering opportunities at do-it.org

I’m having trouble with the online form. How else can I make contact?

Helpforce is encouraging everyone to make contact through the online form. If you are having problems with the form, it may be helpful to seek assistance from a friend or relative.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Please go to the Frequently Asked Questions web page (hospitalhelpforce.com/faqs). The ‘speech bubble’ icon will take you to one of Helpforce’s ambassadors.

Are there other ways I can help?

You can donate to Helpforce – the charity will use all money raised to help support hospitals in creating volunteering roles, and bringing more volunteers to their wards. There are two ways you can donate: via the donate button at hospitalhelpforce.com, or by sending a cheque made out to Helpforce Community Trust to:

Helpforce, S90, South Wing, Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA


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