Young people pledge over 2,000 hours to support our hospitals this summer

Record numbers of young people have signed up to support our hospitals this summer as volunteers.

With more than 80 young people aged 16 to 25 spending the summer supporting Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, it is currently the biggest programme of its kind in London.

As well as welcoming visitors in the hospitals’ outpatient departments, young people are also helping deliver meals to patients’ bedsides, keeping patients company on the wards and handing out books and magazines as part of the volunteer-run hospital library service.

The summer Youth Volunteering Programme, managed by Imperial Health Charity, runs volunteering across our five hospitals. The initiative was launched at Hammersmith Hospital in 2018 before being expanded to include Charing Cross Hospital this year.

Collectively, young volunteers have already clocked up over 2,000 hours and have recorded more than 11,000 patient interactions since the start of July.

The volunteer roles have been assigned to 19 wards and clinics across the two hospitals, including orthopaedics, endocrinology, kidney and transplant services, main outpatients and the acute stroke unit at Charing Cross.

Steph Harrison-White, Head of Patient Experience at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust:

“The programme is a fantastic example of young people playing an active part in their local community. In wards and waiting areas, a friendly and welcoming face can make all the difference to patients and visitors who may be feeling concerned or anxious about an appointment. Having a team of enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers to support our staff is a real boost.”

Chris Neal, Youth Volunteering Manager at Imperial Health Charity, said:

“We’re delighted to see so many young people from the local community step forward and give their time to support the NHS by taking part in London’s biggest ever hospital-based volunteering programme for young people.

“The young volunteers are not only making a real contribution towards improving the hospital experience for patients, they are also investing in themselves by taking the time to build their confidence and develop essential life skills.”

Tania Podoprigora, 16, a volunteer at Charing Cross Hospital, said:

“It’s really built my confidence up. I was quite nervous during my first few shifts but the hospital staff have been very helpful.

“I’ve just finished my GCSEs and I’m considering studying medicine in the future. I thought that volunteering in a hospital would show me what it’s really like – and it’s encouraged me even more.”

The programme represents the first time an NHS trust has been recognised as an ‘Approved Activity Provider’ by the Duke of Edinburgh Award for Volunteering and is also the first NHS hospital charity to be awarded ‘Investing in Volunteers’ status.

For more information about volunteering opportunities at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals please visit