Youth Volunteering

Our NHS Torbay and South Devon Youth Volunteering programme is funded jointly by the Pears Foundation and the IWILL campaign. The youth volunteering programme runs for 16-25 year olds.


You’ll make new friends and meet and work with people from all walks of life, helping you to learn new skills and gain new experience. Our volunteers tell us that volunteering helps them feel more confident and if you are looking for work, volunteering is a great way to show potential employers that you are reliable, and are committed to work and training.

What are the different roles?

Way Finders

To assist visitors to navigate their way around the hospital site and accompany them where appropriate. You will need to have a confident and approachable manner and a love of walking!

Duties and Responsibilities:

(under the supervision of trained staff)

  • Be able to give appropriate directions or show visitors to the correct location
  • Maintain patient confidentiality
  • To maintain a polite and friendly manner at all times
  • Once training has been completed you will be able to push a patient in a wheelchair to their destination within the hospital.
Ward Buddies

Patients often do not have visitors and feel socially isolated during their stay. Research has found that social interaction to combat loneliness and isolation is really important for health and wellbeing. We would like volunteers to sit and chat to patients and if appropriate, to engage them in activities which stimulate conversation and may improve their overall experience.

Duties and Responsibilities

(Under the supervision of trained staff)

  • Liaise with a named member of staff who will direct the volunteer to the patients requiring help and support.
  • Sit and chat with patients and engage in agreed social activities to encourage social interaction.
  • Under the direction of staff, participate in patient social activity group sessions to help people take part in a variety of activities which enable the patient to maintain skills.
  • Act as a link between patients and staff.
  • Write in the hand over book which patients seen that day and write a brief overview of activities used with each patient.
  • To report any concerns to the nurse in charge.
Mealtime Companions

The role ranges from sitting with a patient to encourage them to eat and drink right through to actually feeding the food to the patient if required. It is really important to improve patient nutrition by providing feeding support and social care at mealtimes as it results in better nourished and hydrated patients. Ensuring patients eat and drink well is vital to their recovery and you will play a critical part in this. Training is provided, including Basic Food Hygiene.

Duties and Responsibilities:

(under the supervision of trained staff)

  • Report to nurse in charge 20 minutes ahead of meal time to report attendance and receive ‘update’
  • Prepare the bedside tables for the lunch or evening meal
  • Ensure that the patient has access to any equipment they need for eating including false teeth
  • Help with access to refreshments
  • Take patients to Day Room for their meal if appropriate
  • Create a sociable atmosphere and actively encourage eating and drinking and remind them if they have not finished their food
  • Assist patients in cutting food and opening packets
  • Assist with patient dignity. For example, this may be by wiping the patients face (with their permission) or ensuring they have a suitably placed napkin
  • Ensure all food and drink is within easy range of each a patient and ensure the area is kept clean and tidy

Meet one of our Volunteers

My name is Muntaha Hasnath and I am a youth volunteer at Torbay Hospital. I volunteer weekly at the Emergency Department as a ward buddy. I have been volunteering since October and can say that I have managed to develop lots of new skill and expertise throughout this brief time so far. As a ward buddy it is my job to essentially help with patient care through the pursuit of making drinks or just having a chat with the patients. I often go into the paediatrics department where I am welcome to play with the children. Volunteering at the hospital has enabled me to get a good insight into the reality of working in the NHS and observe the dynamics of a multidisciplinary team. It also put into perspective how volunteers also play a crucial role as part of this team- they not only help improve the efficiency of the nurse’s jobs by helping out with social aspects but also for patients to have someone to sit and talk to helps alleviate stress and thus attain full patient centred care.

Moreover, my time at the Emergency Department has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone as it has tested my socialising abilities. This department can be very busy, and the patients are usually distressed; only there for a short time. So, it is fair to say, it was definitely challenging at the beginning thus adapting to the dynamics of the department. Talking to patients in the clinics and waiting rooms seemed very daunting to me at the begging. After a while I realised it’s really not as scary as I thought it out to be- in fact it made me feel much better when I realised how appreciative everyone is for the help. It may sound like not much but talking to patients; listening to their stories; anything to help comfort them, I personally feel makes my role as a ward buddy so special.

Being a part of the Youth Volunteering group has allowed me to network with so many incredible people and be a part of great projects such as the #iwill Youth Volunteering Campaign and a part of its promotional video. Furthermore, it has helped me enrich better communication skills and interpersonal skills. I would like to study Medicine at University as I have future ambitions to become a doctor. Volunteering at Torbay Hospital has definitely helped augment qualities needed for me to pursue this career and also help firm my decision about my career path. It is a misconception that volunteering at the hospital is only for people who would want to pursue a career within the healthcare sector- when the qualities it can enrich within a person is countless. It’s also a very rewarding experience and I feel very privileged to have my role as a ward buddy in Torbay Hospital.