Health support
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


Active sport
Arts & crafts
Hobbies & pastimes
Index A-Z


What is it?

There are a large number of different organisations who offer help to people suffering from specific health problems.  

  • The best known of them cover the more common illnesses like strokes or heart disease, Alzheimer's or cancer, but there are many other smaller organisations, as well as those who focus on people with disadvantages.

  • They generally  provide information and support in the form of advice services, counselling and discussion, and sometimes special homes and nursing care.  Most of these organisations use volunteers on a regular or occasional basis. You can also be an informal carer for family or friends who are suffering from health problems.  

  • Much of the work involves basic activities like home visits, driving and befriending, though there is also scope for volunteers in special counselling and advisory services.  Other activities in which volunteers often participate include fund raising and administration..

Find out more


Alzheimer's Society
Arthritis Care
Arthritis Research UK
British Heart Foundation
British Red Cross
Cancer Research Campaign
Imperial Cancer Research Fund
Mental Health Foundation
MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
National AIDS Trust
National Association of Hospital and Community Friends
National Council for Hospices and Specialist Palliative Care
St John's Ambulance
Stroke Association

See also the organisations listed under Volunteering   



We have not managed to identify any magazines dealing specially with this type of helping.  But most of the organisations listed above have newsletters for their members.

More information on the health problems that the organisations deal with can be found on various health based web site such as

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club that covers the type of health problem with which you would like to help (see organisations above).

  • See if your local group offers introductory sessions or events.  Take a class or course relevant to health problems at your local adult education centre. 

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of health problems and how to cope with them.

  • Check in your local library/paper or volunteer centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • People of all ages and both sexes can volunteer to help others who have health problems.  There is no need to have special skills or knowledge but many groups offer volunteers training in caring and giving advice.

  • You will be in contact with people with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. 

  • You can find the people who need help in the form of health support either by contacting the specialist organisations below or through your own friends and family.

Equipment or clothing
  • As a volunteer you don't need to have any special equipment, though volunteer drivers often use their own cars and volunteer administrators may have their own computers or office equipment. 

  • Some organisations like you to wear badges or clothing to identify yourself.

A place or facilities
  • You can help in people's homes, by taking/driving people where they want to go, or by working in a social centre, hospital or residential home.  

  • Fund raising and administration will generally involve activities locally, with some work at home.

Have a go - get started now

The content of these pages is copyright (c) Leisure Consultants 2002-14