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volunteering hub (reh)

Our vision was to promote happiness and wellbeing in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital through the involvement of volunteers and the promotion of volunteering

About the Volunteering Hub

The Volunteer Hub at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital was created in September 2008 by Volunteer Edinburgh. At the invitation of the hospital’s management, we developed a service that used volunteering to bring meaning, purpose and joy to the lives of hundreds of in-patients and supported their recovery journeys. Hundreds of public volunteers were also engaged and shared their skills, time and compassion.

The model of in-patients and members of the public volunteering side by side has had powerful benefits in improving lives and enriching the hospital’s environment be it planting trees, writing poetry, building bicycles, studying, doing pilates, playing music, doing crosswords or numerous other activities, or simply enjoying a quiet chat.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past fifteen years.

Developing the Mental Health Workforce

Volunteer Edinburgh and Voluntary Health Scotland are pleased to share ‘Developing the mental health workforce: The role of volunteering at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in employability development’.

This study looks at the experiences of volunteers who were engaged by Volunteer Edinburgh at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and had career aspirations in mental health, psychology or other areas of health and social care. The study demonstrates how volunteering benefited their employability by identifying how skills, experiences and insights contributed to their career progression. 74% of respondents secured employment in mental health or health and social care

You can view the study below and you can download it here, from the sidebar, or by clicking on the button below the embedded document.

Our vision

Our vision was to promote happiness and wellbeing in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital through the involvement of volunteers and the promotion of volunteering. We aimed to bring moments of joy, laughter, peace, belonging, success, relaxation and validation for patients, and to improve the community and environment of the hospital

We believe that everyone has something to offer, even in the darkest of times in their lives, and we work to involve people in ways which play to their strengths and interests. Many patients volunteer during their time in hospital and are pleased to be able to contribute and feel capable in a setting where they are more usually the recipients of help and support. We start with the person and create a volunteering role or activity around them, ensuring that they have the greatest chance of success in following through, despite the challenges they are facing in their illness.

Volunteering with us

Please Note

Since this project has finished, we are no longer recruiting volunteers for the Volunteering Hub at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. If you are interested in getting involved in volunteering, please try our opportunity search here

We involved a large team of public volunteers to deliver a constantly changing range of activities and support, in partnership with hospital staff. This gave volunteers a broad range of experience and training, as well as ensuring we could continuously adapt to the opportunities for positive involvement of patients. We promoted an atmosphere of equality where patients and public volunteers worked as a team, with complementary skills. Often this might have meant one person providing the skill and knowledge in a certain area, and the other providing initiative, confidence and encouragement. We encouraged both parties to learn from the other.

Volunteer Library at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Volunteering Hub


We were conscious of our role in training public volunteers to be future members of the NHS workforce and we held them to high standards of attitude and behaviour. Members of the public who volunteered were coached and supported to develop their social and emotional skills in this challenging setting, in order to create the most positive outcomes possible for patients.

There is huge reward in being able to see people flourish and we are immensely lucky to spend our days with people who are able to find such strength, humour and kindness in the midst of despair.

Volunteer Quotes

I wanted to say thank you so much for the opportunity to volunteer at the REH. I have really enjoyed it especially all the workshops and hope to live in Edinburgh again in the future and hopefully I could volunteer again then.
It has been a very valuable experience; The perfect way to get an introduction to the hospital setting. Caring and non-clinical.
Thank you very much for the support and help you gave me throughout my volunteering. The opportunities you gave me have been fantastic and without your help I would never have got the job in the hospital. I have had an amazing 18 months volunteering. Thanks again.

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about this project please call contact Marion Findlay by email at