Blog by Sharon Barclay, Service Manager at Royal Voluntary Service I work for Royal Voluntary Service,  one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities and we have over 20,000 volunteers supporting thousands of people each month in hospitals and the community.

The charity is one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 230 volunteer-run shops, café and trolley services providing healthy refreshments through our Healthier Choices programme, Hospital essentials and company to patients hospital staff and visitors.

Our retail units throughout West Scotland attract a large number of customers every day, with caring volunteers serving customers and selling teas and coffees, sandwiches and healthy snacks, as well as helping to signpost people to services, and generally bringing comfort, company and compassion to customers.

When talking about one of our Queen Elizabeth University Hospital café volunteers recently, the café Manager said:

“When Gary comes in to volunteer the whole place just brightens up. He gets on so well with all the team and the customers love him as he has the most contagious laugh”.

Gary helps with replenishing and ordering stock, cleaning tables and chatting to customers helping them where he can.

Not only do our volunteers really enjoy what they do, they also benefit every bit as much as the people that they help every day. Volunteers like Marie, a retired nurse who has been helping out at the Gartnavel Café for two years serving customers, making food and hot drinks said that:

“Since volunteering I have become more confident and made lots of friends. I’m also healthier and happier and would encourage everyone to volunteer to give something back, prevent loneliness and meet new people.”

Royal Voluntary Service, is calling for more volunteers to join its team of volunteers in our Cafés, shops, On Ward Trolley services and pop-up shop at Stobhill, Paisley Royal Alexander, Queen Elizabeth University, Gartnavel, West Glasgow Ambulatory Care and Monkland Hospitals Volunteering is flexible to suit individuals. If you are looking to give the gift of time and do something rewarding or even just meet new people or gain some work experience then try volunteering.

No previous experience is necessary and full training is provided To find out more about becoming a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer, contact Andy Roberts Retail Support Manager by email at Or enquire on our website at