Join our growing community of volunteers

Posted on in Hospitals

When South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust introduced its therapeutic care volunteer scheme in 2013 there were eight volunteers – today, as we celebrate National Volunteers’ Week, we have a growing community of more than 500!

And this year sees the launch of our Therapeutic Support @ South Tees programme with all volunteers brought together under one team to help make a real difference to our patients and visitors.

Under the leadership of Debi McKeown, lead nurse for therapeutic support, the staff, volunteers and work experience students – aged from 16 to 82 – provide valuable therapeutic support to patients, visitors and staff throughout the trust.

This can range from helping with activities in the day room such as board games, dominoes and crafts through to hairdressing and nail painting. Volunteers may also find themselves running errands for patients and taking them for short trips off the wards where appropriate.

The team is made up of:

  • Therapeutic care support workers
  • Therapeutic care volunteers
  • Admin volunteers
  • Chaplaincy volunteers
  • Holistic centre volunteers
  • Macmillan volunteers
  • Friends of the Friarage volunteers
  • Wayfinders
  • Work experience students
  • Step into Health applicants

Debi said: “The support provided by volunteers uplifts the mood of patients, families and carers. The volunteers provide a sense of companionship that allows staff to get on with their tasks, safe in the knowledge that their patients have someone to talk to.

“We have developed a community of people who are enhancing the patient experience while getting experience themselves. And many go on to get permanent roles at the trust.”

Discover more about the roles available on our new volunteer webpages.

For more information on volunteering at the trust call 01642 835862 or email

From volunteer hairdresser to full time nurse – and loving it!

Steph Mohan

Steph Mohan was working as a hairdresser when she decided it was time for a career change.

She took her first step by signing up as a volunteer at The James Cook University Hospital.

Five years later she has become a registered nurse and now works at the Friarage Hospital on the Clinical Decision Unit.

“I started going round the hospital cutting hair, doing nails and taking patients out two days a week, said Steph.

“It made me feel good about myself. Some of the transformations we had were amazing. There was one young boy on the children’s ward had been in a coma and his hair was down to his back. His mother was so happy when I cut it!”

Steph, 33, enjoyed the role so much that a year later she completed training to enable her to become a fulltime therapeutic care support worker at the hospital.

In this role she was able to help improve the management of patients with challenging behaviours, many of whom required one to one enhanced observation.

“When you sit with someone 12 hours every day you really get to know people,” she said. “One of the things I have taken with me into my nursing role is an understanding of why people who need enhanced observations might behave like they do.”

Steph completed her nurse training at Teesside University but says her volunteering experience also really helped to prepare her for her nursing role.

She added: “Being a volunteer let me know what to expect on the ward. Plus it was all I talked about in my nursing job interview!”

Shining a light on volunteering across South Tees

Volunteers’ Week videos from Middlesbrough Volunteers Centre: