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Hospital Volunteers

Become an end of life hospital volunteer

If you live near one of our partner hospitals and are thinking of joining their team of end of life volunteers (or ‘Butterfly Volunteers’, as we sometimes call them), here are some frequently asked questions you may find useful.

For updates on new projects and volunteering opportunities with our partner hospitals or with us, subscribe to the Anne Robson Trust newsletter or contact us directly

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no difference.

Here at the Anne Robson Trust, we like to use the name Butterfly Volunteers because butterflies are thought to represent endurance, change and hope and are recognised as a symbol of palliative care.

Some of the hospitals we work with choose to call their end of life volunteers Butterflies; others prefer to use a different title.

But whatever they’re called, the role of these volunteers is largely the same.    

Butterfly Volunteers are members of a hospital’s volunteer team who work on the ward to support patients at the end of their life and their families.

They provide company and companionship to the patient in their last days and hours of life, and support and respite for their family and friends.

Important qualities include being:

  • a good listener
  • empathic and kind
  • non-judgemental
  • resilient and pro-active about taking care of yourself
  • punctual and reliable

No, just a passion for making a difference for others.

A minimum of two 4-hour shifts per month (depending on the hospital policy).

You’ll receive a generic induction to your hospital as one of their volunteers, including safeguarding, GDPR and health & safety.

You will then attend a Butterfly Volunteer training day for specialist training and volunteer wellbeing, supported by the Anne Robson Trust.

Further training specific to your role will be provided by your hospital.

As you will be part of the hospital’s volunteer team, you’ll need to contact their Voluntary Services department for information directly.

For contact details, select your hospital below.

I enjoy my role as a Butterfly Volunteer because it has enabled me to give something back to this wonderful hospital I work in, in the form of comfort and compassion – not only to patients but also to their families.

No-one should have to die alone and to be with someone in their final hours of life, who would otherwise have been alone, for me is an absolute privilege.

Butterfly Volunteer, Princess Alexandra Hospital