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
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..
Alzheimer's Society www.alzheimers.org.uk/
Arthritis Care www.arthritiscare.org.uk/
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/
British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk/
British Red Cross www.redcross.org.uk/
Cancer Research Campaign www.crc.org.uk/
Imperial Cancer Research Fund www.icnet.uk/
Mental Health Foundation www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland www.mssociety.org.uk/
National AIDS Trust www.nat.org.uk/
National Association of Hospital and Community Friends www.hc-friends.org.uk/
National Council for Hospices and Specialist Palliative Care www.hospice-spc-council.org.uk/
St John's Ambulance www.sja.org.uk/
Stroke Association www.stroke.org.uk/
See also the organisations listed under
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
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
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.
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
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.