There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust across all of our sites and services and to suit every interest.

If you would like to become a volunteer, please click here to see our volunteer opportunities, further information and complete an application form

Contact details

Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital

Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital is a voluntary organisation and charity which works for the Truro hospital to benefit patients and staff.

 You can find out more via our;

Friends volunteers help many, many patients and visitors at our hospitals every day of the year. They may help you with directions, escort you to your destination, offer you a complimentary drink, or support you during an appointment. Our volunteers generously give over 35,000 hours of their time each year and, among many other duties, give away well over 40,000 complimentary drinks to our patients and visitors.

Become a Friend of the Royal Cornwall Hospital

We are looking for more volunteers to become a Friend and give their time to support patients and their families at our Hospital – this could be YOU. There are so many opportunities to help at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, you can read more in our Guide to Volunteering, or contact Voluntary Services on 01872 253737 or rcht.voluntaryservices@rcht.cornwall.nhs.uk.

Recent Donations

Over the years the Friends have donated well over two million pounds’ worth of equipment and comfort items for staff and patients, items that otherwise could not have been funded.
Some of the recent Friends’ donations include:

  • Several specialist scanners, including £70,000 for a head scanner for people with head injuries or a suspected stroke and £40,000 for a specialist ultrasound scanner so patients with endometriosis do not need to go to Plymouth for a diagnosis
  • £35,000 towards a scanner that can be taken in to patients homes via the Scute Care at Hoe team
  • Money towards extending the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme to all over the age of 55 in Cornwall, as part of our 70th anniversary
  • £15,000 for scopes and a storage cabinet in Endoscopy
  • £1,000 to purchase tabards for nurses to wear on their drug rounds to make dispensing safer
  • £5,000 for a TOSCA machine to monitor oxygen levels in children and £40,000 for a heart monitoring machine to save children having travel to Bristol.

These donations are made possible by: visitors to our Coffee Bar in Tower Block at the Royal Cornwall Hospital; and the public giving generously in collecting tins, leaving us a legacy in their will or supporting our many fundraising efforts.

To apply for a grant from the Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital (staff only)

Please phone the Voluntary Services Office on 01872 253737 or email rch-tr.VoluntaryServices@nhs.net for a Donation Request Form, and the voluntary services team will fully explain the application process. You’ll need to get your application form signed off by your immediate and divisional manager, before returning it to the Voluntary Services Office, 1st Floor, Tower Block.

History of the Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital

Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital was founded in 1945, one of the oldest Leagues in the country. It incorporated the Ladies Linen League, a body which met regularly to sew for the hospitals in mid­ Cornwall. Its founder and first chairman was Mrs Bickford-­Smith of Trevarno, Helston, and Mrs George Johnstone of Trewithen was the original Honorary Secretary.

Changes in the National Health Service over the years has meant that some of the smaller hospitals in the Truro area no longer exist and with the closure of the Royal Cornwall Infirmary and the formation of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, the name was changed to Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

The Friends started with a membership of 100 and now has nearly 350 volunteers working in the hospital, in addition to those who fundraise on our behalf.

In the early years, the Friends provided amenities to make patients’ stays in hospital more homelike and comfortable. Now, we also finance items of equipment and contribute substantial sums to public appeals for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.

Over the years we have been very fortunate in receiving many generous legacies. Such donations are recorded in a fine Book of Remembrance, housed in the Chapel at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

The Committee and Annual General Meeting

The Committee of the Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital meets monthly, principally to decide how the money collected should be spent. In this we are advised with patience and good humour by the hospital staff, who submit requests to us.

The AGM is held in the Spring of each year. We take this opportunity to thank the volunteers for the many hours of dedicated service and an award ceremony is held to honour those who have given 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 years service to the Charity and Hospital.

Committee members:

  • Chairman: Beatrice Dyer
  • Vice Chairman: Deborah Barlow, Sarah Young
  • Secretary: Sally Berriman 
  • Minute Secretary: Liz Rickard
  • Treasurer: Helen Green
  • Assistant Treasurers: Jenny Prime; Carole Flavelle; Liz Birchall.

Contact the committee:

All committee members can be contacted through the Voluntary Services Office on the first floor of the Tower Block at the Royal Cornwall Hospital rcht.voluntaryservices@rcht.cornwall.nhs.uk.

Friends of West Cornwall Hospital

The Friends of West Cornwall Hospital support the work of the Penzance hospital thanks to the generous time and dedication given by volunteers. Read the full list of volunteering opportunities: ‘A Guide to Volunteering’.

The Friends have also recently made a substantial donation towards the complete re­design and refurbishment of the reception and waiting area, plus the substantial upgrade of Medical Ward 2. They provide grants towards many valuable items of equipment specifically needed at West Cornwall Hospital.

The committee

The Friends’ Committee meet every month and recognise the long service of volunteers at their Annual General Meeting. You can contact the committee through the Voluntary Services Department on 01872 253737 or by calling the Friends’ Secretary, Gill Prodger on 01736 351390 or emailing watchouse@btopenworld.com.

Friends of St Michael’s Hospital

The Friends of St Michael’s Hospital support the work of the Hayle hospital thanks to the generous time and dedication given by volunteers. Read the full list of volunteering opportunities: ‘A Guide to Volunteering’.

The Friends have also donated substantial money to the hospital for additional equipment and facilities to enhance services for patients.

The committee

‘The Friends’ Committee meet once a quarter, and non­-committee volunteers are very welcome to attend. Long­-serving volunteers are officially recognised at the Annual General Meeting for their dedication and invaluable help in enriching the environment and experience of everyone using and working in St Michael’s Hospital.

Committee members can be contacted through the Voluntary Services Department by calling 01872 253737.

Community and Hospital Broadcasting Network (CHBN)

CHBN provides a Hospital Radio service to patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, West Cornwall Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital, and in 2012 was awarded a full time Community Radio licence enabling it to broadcast 24 hours a day on FM to Truro and the surrounding areas. Listen online and 100.8 FM (Truro area only).

A key part of the service involves visiting patients to collect their music requests, then broadcasting these especially for them. We also provide on­-air information and advice around the topics of health, wellbeing and lifestyle, working with services and departments within the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the local community.

Our charity is run entirely by volunteers who undertake various roles in the organisation. These roles include presenting, visiting the patients to collect requests, programme production, engineering, fundraising and administration. We rely on outside events, show associates and donations, to provide funds to continue this valuable service.

Join the team

CHBN is always seeking new volunteers of all ages to help out in this enthusiastic and rapidly developing team. You can commit as much or as little time as you feel able and will be provided with all the necessary training. So if you fancy a new challenge and would like to volunteer with our station, or would like any further information, please get in touch.


The Studio
Royal Cornwall Hospital
Truro, Cornwall
01872­ 252861 (24hr answering service available)
Or visit the Community and Hospital Broadcasting Network website for more information.

Page last reviewed: 20 September 2023

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