We are welcoming back our volunteers and applications for new volunteers are open again. We are following Covid-19 infection control advice to ensure everyone stays safe.
Volunteers support and enhance our services at South London and Maudsley. We are supported by about 400 volunteers every year, from all walks of life, who bring their own skills, experience, and passion to the Trust. There are a variety of roles for our volunteers - including befriending service users, helping occupational therapists and gardening.
Watch a video about Msaada, our volunteer programme for people from Black and Ethnic Minority communities.
What we look for in a volunteer
You can volunteer if you are aged over 16. We ask all volunteers to make a commitment of at least three hours per week for nine months so that we can create long-lasting and meaningful roles and relationships with staff and service users.
You will need to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service check, attend training, supply two references and complete an Occupational Health disclosure before you can start volunteering because most roles will involve contact with vulnerable adults.
The benefits to you
Volunteers provide invaluable support to the Trust. Becoming a volunteer with us will also allow you to:
use your free time in an enjoyable and positive way
share your interests, knowledge and experience
explore career options and gain references for future jobs
learn new skills and gain valuable experience for work or further education
meet new people and get involved in your community
We are looking for community befrienders who would like to support and befriend adults with mental health issues who may also have a physical disability. Volunteers will help to reduce social isolation and increase people’s confidence and self-esteem.
The Befriender will be guided by staff to assist service users on their recovery journey, committing to at least two hours per week. This may involve accompanying people for outings, going out for a cup of tea, supporting with appointments, going to the gym and swimming, and support with attending college courses. This voluntary role makes a real difference to service users and is a great opportunity to gain skills for a career in mental health. For more details, email email@example.com.
Professional placements, training and work experience
Our Trust has arrangements in place with some educational institutions, for their students to undertake professional placements and training. Please check with your educational institution as to whether they can facilitate this for you.
Outside of these arrangements, the Volunteer Service cannot facilitate placements or training directly. We cannot facilitate short-term work experience placements.
"I’ve always enjoyed working with people and I wanted to do something with my free time that would hopefully have a positive effect on others. I was very impressed with the work SLaM and the NHS do, and I wanted to use my skill set to get involved too.
“I spent a lot of time talking with the patients as well as assisting with dinner time. I hope I brought a friendly face to Greenvale and someone who had the time to really sit down and listen to the patients, making sure they didn’t feel alone when they were potentially at their most vulnerable point in life. I definitely developed my communication skills and integrity while volunteering as working with people with dementia can take patience and persistence, but is of course is worth it as I felt like I was making a difference.
“A particular moment during my time at Greenvale that stuck out for me was when I noticed one lady was very distressed because her prize possession - a family photo album - had been damaged by a coffee spillage. As a dementia patient this was an invaluable aid that gave her life clarity and coherence. With the backing of the helpful care manager I felt compelled to repair it for her.
“The next week I sat with her while we remade it - cutting out the pictures and backing them onto pretty paper and adding fancy titles - all the while getting her involved in picking the different card and choosing pen colours. I was incredibly moved by her gratitude and this helped me realise how small acts of kindness have such significance and having the courage to make change is important. This also was a defining moment that made clear to me that I wanted to spend the rest of my life trying to help people really get the most out of their lives and what’s important to them. Consequently I am currently applying to study occupational therapy - a profession that I hope will allow me to do so.”
“Over the last eight months I have been volunteering on Thursday afternoons in the Ceramic and Art studios at Bethlem Royal Hospital. I have been helping service users with any technical challenges and more generally enjoying making creative work together.
“I was thinking of making a career change from being an Art and DT Teacher into occupational therapy and wanted to gain experience within a mental health hospital. I was also very keen to learn some new skills in ceramics - I had thoroughly enjoyed ceramics when I was at school and hadn’t done it for years!
“The art and ceramics tutors all made me feel very welcome. They all care passionately about people and the therapeutic role of the arts within recovery and I learned a huge amount from them over the months.
“In the mornings I visited the Museum of the Mind and the Bethlem Gallery to absorb the exhibitions and gain a wider understanding of mental health history and contemporary issues. They are fascinating places and I loved being able to sit quietly and read some of the interesting books they have available. I bought some beautiful cards and Christmas presents made by service users and dried apple and chutney made from apples grown in the Walled Garden.
“I took the opportunity to talk to a variety of occupational therapists (OTs) working on different wards in order to gain an understanding of daily life as an OT. I’d like to thank them all for taking the time to talk to me about the world of OT and for all the support and encouragement they gave me in putting together my application for university.
“I am delighted to say that I now have a place on a part-time four-year degree in Occupational Therapy at London South Bank University! I’m over the moon to be starting this new chapter in life and will take all the experiences I gained while volunteering with me on this new journey.”