Hospital volunteers have responded generously to growing pressure faced by local NHS services this winter with the offer to give even more of their time at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Royal Voluntary Service has been supporting the NHS since its inception 70 years ago and today the charity has thousands of volunteers providing comfort and compassion to staff and patients through its cafés, shops and legendary ward trolleys.

Last year, its volunteers offered extra shifts during the very busy winter season in a number of NHS Trusts – and they have stepped up again this year to help ease the strain.

During the months of January and February, the charity’s volunteers will be conducting extra rounds with their trolleys and providing free water and fruit to patients, visitors and staff teams alike.

Extra stops at A&E and Outpatients units will ensure those facing longer-than-usual waiting times will be offered some refreshment.

Catherine Johnstone CBE, chief executive at Royal Voluntary Service said: “Having seen the challenges facing NHS services this winter on a daily basis, our volunteers said they would like to do more for the people we support.

"Their generosity will allow Royal Voluntary Service to send out more trolleys, give faster service and just to be there with a hand of friendship to those who need it most at challenging times. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to us asking our valued volunteers to do more, but essentially they wanted to do what they have always done and do so brilliantly; roll their sleeves up and pitch in to help. We are incredibly grateful for their support.”

Anna Sterckx, Head of Patient, Carer and Public Engagement at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and help us to provide a service that is integral to providing a really positive patient experience, by enhancing the lives of patients, staff and communities.

"We offer many of different opportunities to volunteer across our three main hospitals and right now we are recruiting volunteers who would like to support our assisted feeding programme.”

Royal Voluntary Service has worked with its suppliers who have agreed to gift fruit and water. Suppliers include: AF Blakemore & Son Ltd, Ginsters, Brake Bros Ltd, Fulfil UK, Britvic Soft Drinks, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Walkers PepsiCo, Dandelion, Mondelez, Lucid Direct,

Williams of Swansea and Danone Waters.

For more information about Royal Voluntary Service please visit or call 0845 608 0122.