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Careers at East Cheshire NHS Trust
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Volunteer Tea Party


We as a trust welcome and greatly appreciate the help and time that volunteers give to the hospitals and community locations throughout our footprint in Cheshire. Anyone over the age of 16 years can become a volunteer. The only requirements are commitment, reliability, an understanding and liking of people and a willingness to help.

There are many varied volunteering roles within the trust and volunteers are based at all three hospitals - Macclesfield District General Hospital, Congleton War Memorial Hospital and Knutsford Community Hospital.

Volunteer roles

There are many different roles that volunteers can undertake in the trust, among them:

  • Mealtime assistants - distributing meal trays to patients, assisting them with opening containers and packets and cutting their food if needed. They also sit with patients to help encourage them to eat. Training is also given to enable volunteers to help feed patients.
  • Administration assistants - helping in the many clinics and back offices with filing, taking telephone messages and computer work in some cases.
  • Fundraising volunteers - supporting the trust charity ECHO to raise funds for various projects throughout the trust. Volunteers help to plan and help carry out fundraising events such as the annual Pancake Race, bag sales, sponsored runs and activities. They also help with administering the charity,  putting together and distributing leaflets and posters and marketing ECHO in general.
  • Activity volunteers -  assisting nursing staff to engage and support patients in social activities on a one to one basis, such as playing cards, dominoes and playing bingo. Also setting up small interactive groups eg knitting, music, or gardening groups, in order to encourage the rehabilitation of patients and promote health and wellbeing.

A day in the life of a volunteer 

Volunteer, Brenda Robinson:

"My name is Brenda Robinson and I am a volunteer on Ward 9 in Macclesfield Hospital. I go two days a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) I would love to do more days if I lived in Macclesfield but find it too far from Knutsford, especially having to rely on transport.

"I really love being a volunteer and caring for people. My pleasure doing this is making the patients happy, just to see them laughing is really rewarding in my eyes. With them being elderly I just love to think I could help them to have a better quality of life during their stay in hospital. It is lovely to fetch them into the conservatory and do activities of their choice. I volunteer on the MAPLE project, which runs three times a week for patients. Some patients like to just talk and go down memory lane and they have some stories to tell which makes it more worthwhile just to see them happy.

"The staff make me so welcome on their ward and helping them gives me great pleasure. Patients will come to MAPLE from different wards and we welcome them with tea or coffee and biscuits. They enjoy coming and want to come the following day if it’s possible for them. We play bingo, cards, dominoes and do crafts, depending what they like to do.

"We ask them if they like to have lunch in the conservatory and some do. We make the setting on table special for them. On special dates eg Valentine, Easter and Christmas we like to create things for them, cards to give to their family etc, which they really seem to appreciate.

"I am at my happiest when helping those who come to the MAPLE project to spend a bit of quality time away from the wards and in a sociable atmosphere."

Fran Watson (pictured below), aged 61, volunteers at Macclesfield District General

"I started volunteering at Macclesfield in May 2013, after I retired from a career in education.

"I've always been a fan of the NHS and believe, despite set backs, it is an extraordinary organisation. I chose Macclesfield Hospital simply because it is the nearest to my home in Wilmslow. I have, however, found it to be a modern, well-run hospital with hard-working staff who work hard with a good sense of duty and fun.

"I volunteer one day a week starting in the wonderful RVS shop. I meet a fantastic variety of people including staff, patients, visitors, outpatients and those who just love the shop! The staff there are wonderful and work tirelessly.

"After a quick lunch, I go to Ward 9 to help give out lunches and assist patients and staff in any way possible that is within my ability. It's a time when having many helping hands is important. This takes about an hour, and then I move on to Ward 10. Here I am mainly there to talk to the patients, but I sometimes do this through playing cards or dominoes or occasionally helping with a crossword or word search.

"However just talking to patients is amazing. It's moving and enlightening to hear about their lives which are often long and complex. I finish between 3 and 4pm, it's a very enjoyable and fulfilling day."

How to become a volunteer

The volunteer department holds an open evening session usually on the first Monday of every month at 6pm. Please contact us to book on to the session so that we can confirm with you the venue details. The session usually lasts an hour and you will learn what roles are currently available at the trust, how the application process works and what the trust expects from volunteers. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, just email ecn-tr.volunteering@nhs.net to book onto the session and you will be sent location details and further information. 

Students are always welcome at the trust and we have a high number apply every year but we also love having older people volunteer with us as they have a lot of experience they can bring to the various roles. If you are interested in volunteering and would like to speak to someone, call us on 01625 661974. 


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