Volunteer role - Reading Companion

Department: Ward areas
Key contact: Various – depending on the ward
Purpose: To read stories to patients and siblings and encourage them to read on their own to ensure the highest standards of care are provided.
Time commitment: Minimum of one two-hour session per week for six months. Hours between Monday to Sunday, 9am-7pm
BCH values: Trust, commitment, compassion, courage, respect

Key tasks:

  • To read stories to patients/siblings in an engaging way and support them to read on their  own
  • Consider age, sex, abilities and cultural needs of patients and siblings when preparing and running reading activities, either at the bedside (1:1 basis) or in the play room (small groups)
  • Announce your arrival when visiting wards
  • Check and maintain books, and tidy them away after each session
  • Help maintain a clean and safe environment in which children can read and learn
  • Alert supervisory staff to areas of concern
  • Keep all information given or discussed within the hospital confidential
  • Attend relevant training sessions provided by the Trust
  • Demonstrate the BCH values in actions and behaviours

Desired skills and experience:

  • Experience of reading to children and young people and supporting them to read on their own
  • Awareness of infection control regarding books
  • Listening skills
  • Caring and tactful
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Understanding of, or ability to learn, personal and professional boundaries

Benefits to the volunteer:

  • Opportunity to volunteer in the best children’s hospital in the country
  • Improving the experience of patients and their families
  • Experience of a professional environment
  • Gain skills and practical experience with children and young people
  • Opportunity to attend social events and be recognised for your contribution

We will provide:

  • Induction into the hospital and your ward/department
  • Ongoing support from a named member of staff
  • Additional training as required for your role
  • Reimbursement of your travel expenses (on production of receipts)
  • Reimbursement of equipment purchases, with prior consent
  • Reimbursement of a meal and drink if you complete more than 4½ hours
  • A written reference upon the completion of 50 hours of volunteering

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