Hiyos Helpers – NHS volunteering



learn new skills and make a difference

volunteer in the


Hiyos Helpers – volunteering in the NHS


Have you thought of NHS volunteering opportunities? We share our experience and share the benefits for patients, volunteers and staff.   We are an NHS practice and offered a volunteering programme – Hiyos Helpers – for patients to help other patients. This initially started for our own patients but has now expanded to anyone who wants to volunteer. There are lots of benefits to volunteering. It gives you a chance to promote your well-being, by helping others. It also gives you a sense of purpose and improves your mental health. We also run virtual work experience programmes, designed for students, those considering a career change and those who simply want to volunteer.

Why volunteer?

Learn new skills and share the ones you have – with people who need them. Connect – with other patients and healthcare professionals. Right now – either in person or online.

Why do we offer volunteering?

Because, research shows that one of the biggest factors for poor health is the opportunity for work. We want to give a flavour of what working in the NHS is like.


High demand for workers with correct skill mix. Plenty of training opportunities.


Opportunities for clinicians and non-clinicians to be involved in digital health projects which are transforming healthcare.

Creating employment for all

Together with NHS partners in NW London, Hiyos is offering a work experience and an NHS volunteering programme for those who are interested in working in the NHS. It’s an opportunity to meet clinicians and administrators and hear their experiences and personal stories, work on projects together, and get a broad and full understanding of how the NHS works and all the different roles within it. As a part of this we are also offering a volunteering programme.

Why are we running these programmes?

This is part of NHS Northwest London project to reduce health inequalities. Employment is a major factor for poor health outcomes.

The NHS is the largest employer in England with around 1.6m people, but it’s not just doctors and nurses. Surprisingly, about half are non-clinical roles. From paramedics to porters, ENT consultants to estates management. There’s plenty to choose from.

Above all, the NHS is a fab place to work! Working with talented staff and providing outstanding care for patients, you can volunteer for a NHS workforce with good career progression and training opportunities.  The promotion of diversity and equality is at the heart of the NHS workforce.

436,000 people volunteered for NHS first responder programme. Volunteering gives new insights, skills and experience.

Research shows for every 10% increase in employment, healthy life expectancy increases by 5 years. 

Marmot Review 10 years On – Institute of Health Equity


Who is our NHS volunteer programme for?

Our programme is for anyone interested in learning more about career opportunities in the NHS and healthcare generally. 


University applications require you to have work experience. However, you’re often left to arrange your own work experience which can be tricky.

Changing Career / Looking for work

We’ll share how the NHS works and what’s available. We can share ideas on mapping transferable skills. The programme will give you insights to help identify the type of work to apply for and how to get your ideal job. 

NHS Volunteering

Volunteering is a chance to give something back to your community, whilst building your skills and having new experiences. We’ll work with you to identify what you want to get out of your role and find the right places to look. 

Welcome to all…

We’d welcome applicants from all walks of life and we’ll group those with shared interests. We are particularly keen to receive applications from those with those who are struggling to get work experiences such as those from ethnic minority backgrounds and those with disabilities. The only requirement is to be aged 16 or over.

We want to give an opportunity to all. 


Project What the volunteers did
Digital inclusionMore and more things are being made available online. We trained our NHS volunteers to help patients to get online and help with any ongoing issues they had.
Innovation LabsThe practice works on projects in its innovation labs. These look at data and test new ways of delivering care. NHS Volunteers helped to share their insights, and get feedback from other patients. They also helped to deliver projects, which included collaboration with schools and delivering webinars.
COVID vaccination clinics
NHS Volunteers were involved in marshalling, checking patient IDs, assisting patients with filling forms and cleaning the chairs in between. Typically a volunteer would sign-up to do a 7-8h day. Opportunities were advertised in the existing WhatsApp group and slots were filled easily. Staff also ensured that patients were treated as part of the team, participating in staff meetings at the beginning and end of each day. 

“I really enjoyed the contact, handling people and older people in particular – making them safe and bringing them to the right place” 

Hiyos Helper


So what have we learnt from our experience? We thought we’d share out insights here for NHS volunteering for other NHS organisations, who may be considering this.

Thanks to an independent evaluation from Imperial healthcare partners, here are our top tips for nhs volunteering for NHS organisation. We’ve outlined these in the same way as we have for our top tips for diet and exercise. They are divided into where you are in thinking about making a start on setting up a volunteering programme. 

On your marks – where you are just thinking about things.

Get set – planning and getting things in place. 

Go – when you actually make a start. Finally, 

keep it up – to continue with the good work you are doing.

“I found it a very good induction process: the way the programme was split out was well described and articulated; we had a call to introduce everyone, [where it felt like] staff were genuinely trying to help the clinic; I felt welcomed, supported, and had all info needed” 
– Hiyos Helper