Bradford hospitals are calling on people to make a difference to their patients by becoming chaplaincy volunteers.

Volunteers from all religions and none are being sought to visit patients and help bring a listening ear and a kind word into the lives of hospital patients across the city.

The plea has come from the Chaplaincy Service at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, both part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is looking to increase its volunteer numbers to cater for people’s spiritual needs during their hospital stay.

Volunteers are required for a few hours every week to provide a listening ear to patients

The multi-faith Chaplaincy team consists of seven chaplains representing all major religions in the city, who provide pastoral healthcare for those of religious belief and those of no faith; it is seen as an integral part of the patient experience, contributing to a patient’s holistic wellbeing.

Hospital chaplain, Maryam Riaz said: “For many this is a vital source of comfort during their stay. Chaplaincy volunteers help supplement this service by visiting patients and providing a listening ear and words of reassurance. They carry out visits to hospital patients for a few hours every week, to give support and encouragement.

“The chaplaincy team currently has approximately 70 volunteers but we want to expand its reach even further.”

To become a volunteer you need to be aged 17 and over, and be able to commit at least two to three hours every week to one of the hospitals. All volunteers must undergo a training course, led by the hospital chaplains, before they are permitted to work on the Trust’s wards.

Maryam added: “The chaplains deliver a thorough training programme to equip potential volunteers with the essential skills that are required for visiting patients.

“This includes vital listening skills, how to provide general support to people in a variety of different situations which might occur during their hospital stay, understanding religion and spirituality from different faiths, and an introduction to providing bereavement support.”

Previous chaplaincy volunteers have won awards in recognition for the kindness, commitment and dedication they have shown across the Foundation Trust’s hospitals and its patients.

One Chaplaincy volunteer commented: “I could see how my 10 to15 minutes visiting made a huge difference to the patient.”

Another said: “I was incredibly touched and overwhelmed that my visit had made such a difference; something that I will remember for a long time.”

If you are interested in becoming a chaplaincy volunteer, please contact Dawn Arnison on 01274-365819 or email dawn.arnison@bthft.nhs.uk

The Foundation Trust will be running a four-day induction course for chaplaincy volunteers from 30th September – 3rd October 2019, 9.30am-3.30pm, at St Luke’s Hospital.  Anyone interested should apply now, so the various checks can take place ahead of training.