Volunteering with us

Do you have some spare time and feel like you would like to help and make a difference to patients at our Trust?

We are looking for volunteers to help across our three hospitals and would love to hear from you, we need volunteers for the following:

  • Voluntary drivers to join our ‘Carecars’ voluntary patient transport scheme (Basildon and Southend area).
  • Volunteers (preferably with a clinical background) to help out at our emergency departments.
  • Mealtime assistants (‘Feeding Buddies’) to encourage elderly patients to eat.
  • Dementia Befrienders to play puzzle games and chat to patients with the condition.
  • Admin/clerical support.
  • Pets as Therapy volunteers - and their dogs! - to cheer up patients and staff.

Our volunteers

Maisie Crookes FEEDING BUDDYWe currently have around 550 volunteers across our sites, helping out in a variety of different roles, including running errands on wards; being on our outpatient reception to guide patients to their appointments.

As well as helping around our Trust, becoming a volunteer can be hugely rewarding, helping to build friendships, confidence, alleviating loneliness and helping with employability.

All applications are subject to interview, references and a police check.

You don’t need any special skills or experience, but you will need to be over 18, dependant on where you volunteer. All we ask is that you are cheerful, helpful and reliable – and can commit to a minimum of four hours a week.Volunteering at one of our hospitals can make a real difference to the lives of patients.

Join to be a volunteer 

To find out more, please email mse.msevolunteers@nhs.net or apply below:

Basildon: please visit Basildon Hospital Voluntary service click here

Broomfield: please visit Mid Essex Voluntary services click here

Southend: please visit Southend Hospital Voluntary services click here

Volunteer recruitment process

The process of application to starting your role can take up to three months. This depends on how quickly your pre-placement checks and whether your role is avavailable.

The process consistes of the following stages:

  • Assessment
  • Satisfactory references
  • Disclosure and barring service check
  • Occupational health check
  • Training

Volunteer opportunities and commiments

We are always looking at ways to work with our volunteers to find a suitable role that fits them. The application process can be intensive and so we ask our volunteers to commit to a minimum of six months, for a minimum of four hours a week. We do provide one-off volunteering opportunities for employees of companies who would like to support us. Please contact our team for more information

It is very important you provide as much information as possible when you complete the application form. We also recommend you read the task description of the role you are applying for before you apply. If you have been unsuccessful, you must only re-apply once six months has passed.

Our volunteers provide non clinical and non-medical support to patients, visitors and staff. We have a range of different opportunities you can volunteer for this can vary according to availability at the time of applying.

As a volunteer your role could be greeting visitors as they come in, taking over a patient to the correct department, helping a patient with their meal, playing board games with elderly patients on the wards or even taking around the trolley to patients who would like a snack.

We pay travel expenses up to a 10-mile radius of your nearest hospital, providing you submit the correct receipts. This excludes weekly bus and train passes. You can also collect a lunch voucher with a value of £4.50 which can be used in the hospital canteen, however only volunteers who do at least 4.5 hours per day are entitled to use the voucher.

If you are interested in completing work experience, working in clinical setting in laboratories or observing or shadowing clinicians, please visit our work experience page.

You can become a volunteer at one of our charities, to do so visit https://msehospitalscharity.co.uk.

Mid and South Essex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is supported by a variety of independent charities whose volunteers help raise money for charity or improve patient care.

Volunteer Friends at Broomfield

The Friends at Broomfield Hospital provides a range of services to the hospital including a newspaper trolley service, library and of course the “Hospital Shop”. All of these services are organised and run by volunteers, and all of the profits generated are given back to the hospital for the purchase of equipment requested by medical staff.

Visit www.fabh.org to find out more about Friends at Broomfield Hospital.

Volunteer Friends at Braintree

We have a band of 54 volunteers at Braintree Community Hospital who been going strong since the hospital opened in 2010.

The Friends is a charity in its own right, with 14 trustees who meet regularly every two to three months. “We describe ourselves as a critical friend of the hospital,” explains Linda Hotson, who looks after the volunteers.

The Friends run a shop at the entrance to the Chadwick Drive site, selling sweets, crisps, cards biscuits, newspapers, and magazines. Volunteers there do a roaring trade in second-hand books, while others man trolley around the hospital’s two wards.

Volunteers also provide a wayfinding service for patients at the entrance to the hospital.

All this endeavour, along with events such as tabletop and book sales, carol concerts and other social get-togethers means the group have raised more than £110,000 since its inception. Some of the money has gone to Braintree and nearby St Michael’s hospital, as well as local community charities such as food banks and the Tabor Centre, which provides respite care.

“Our volunteers couldn’t wait to come back after Covid,” says Linda. “We are a very social group; we organise days out. We’re like a large family, I suppose.”

The phone was a godsend during lockdown, ensuring Linda and her colleagues Yvonne and Marion could keep in contact with many of the group. The lifting of restrictions has meant a return to the days out and other social events.

It’s small wonder that the Friends have all the volunteers they need at the moment. If you would like to join the waiting list, please call Sheila Pegram email only at FBCH@mail.com.

Volunteer League of Friends Basildon

The League of Friends was formed in the mid 1960s, several years before Basildon Hospital opened its doors in 1973. With a remit to buy the additional extras that might not be funded by the NHS, the group has more than fulfilled its aim.

Latest accounts show we have raised more than £1.7 million for the direct benefit of patients and staff.

Money originally came through raffles and quiz nights, plus other social events but is now raised through the Tea Bar in outpatients. Cash raised buys devices such as a Glidescope (a video device enabling a better view of a patient’s airways during intubation, making the experience less uncomfortable).

Before Covid it also funded a children’s entertainer who would come along weekly to cheer up poorly youngsters (hopefully soon to begin again). The League also paid for 3,000 toiletry packs for patients coming into hospital without items such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste.

The proceeds of the League of Friends Tea Bar, part of the landscape of Basildon Hospital Outpatients since the 1970s, plays a huge part in bringing money in; indeed, the charity’s volunteers were the first group of volunteers to return to the shop in December 2021, following Covid.

Despite the rising cost of living, prices remain the same as pre-pandemic. “You can still get a ham or cheese roll for £1.30 and a cuppa for £1.10,” says chairman Alan Ursell, proudly.

Small wonder that around 300-400 customers buy from the bar a day, which is open from 10am - 2pm by a rota of 25 volunteers.

Eventually Alan and his colleagues hope to extend the tea bar’s opening hours, but need more volunteers in order to do this. “A number of our volunteers have been unable to return since Covid,” he explains. “It’s a nice place to help out; we are a friendly team. We just get on with it and the feedback we get from staff and patients makes it so worthwhile.”

New volunteers are always welcome for information please contact Rita 01268 793864 or email ritalof@hotmail.co.uk.

Cancer information and support service

Cancer Information & Support Service

There is a cancer information & support service located at each of our hospitals and anybody affected by cancer can make contact. This is a drop-in service, no appointment is needed. Providing patients and/or carers have given their consent staff can email the relevant centre with contact details.


  • Managing stress & promoting emotional well-being
  • Being physically active
  • Healthy eating
  • Questions about cancer screening and genetic testing

Emotional concerns

  • Space to talk things through one off 1:1 support
  • Support group & relaxation class
  • Referral to other support service

Physical concerns

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Body image
  • Intimacy issues

Family concerns

  • Relationship issues
  • Talking to family/children
  • Seeking support for family members

Practical Support

  • Extra help at home ie cleaner, housekeeper or gardener
  • Employment issues
  • Money worries- referral to welfare benefits advisor
  • Grant applications & Food vouchers
  • Social isolation


  • Support when treatment has ended

Spiritual/religious concerns

  • Loss of meaning or purpose of life
  • Feeling of regret about the past

End of life

  • Non clinical environment for families to visit and take break from ward
  • Talking through treatment and care options
  • Additional support

Please do not refer patients for the following:

  • New or troublesome symptoms
  • Discharge planning
  • Referrals to Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy or Social Service
  • Patients/carers requiring ongoing psychological support or have expressed suicidal thoughts or present with extreme emotional reactions to a cancer diagnosis.

Contact us

Macmillan Information Pod – Basildon Hospital

Located in the out-patients department and available Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

This info pod is currently not manned, please call 01268 524900 ext. 3250/1239 or email mse.cancer.support@nhs.net.

Macmillan Information Pod – Broomfield Hospital

Located in the atrium, the info pod is temporarily closed.

Please contact the Macmillan Information Centre at Southend Hospital on 01702 385101 or email mse.macmillan.centre@southend.nhs.uk.

Macmillan Information Centre at Southend Hospital

Located on the ground floor of the Tower Block, open Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm. Contact them on 01702 385101 or email mse.macmillan.centre@nhs.net.

Macmillan Information Manager – Friederike Englund

Macmillan Deputy Information Manager – Francesca Jaworska, Nicola Russell

To find us on Facebook please visit: https://www.facebook.com/SouthendNHScancersupport