We very much appreciate your interest in volunteering here at Nightingale, the largest care home for Jews in London. For whatever reason you have for applying, I am sure we will be able to find something enjoyable for you to do.
The purpose of this page is to explain how the recruitment and induction process progresses.
Over the years, staff members, volunteers, relatives and others who work with the residents have identified the areas where help is needed. This is constantly changing depending on what is happening in the Home and the strength of our volunteers is that they can often be relatively flexible and give the time that paid members of staff just do not have.
If after reading this information, you feel volunteering at Nightingale is just what you are looking for, please download the application form and return it to me. I will then contact you to arrange an interview during which we can discuss exactly what you would like to do here and I will also show you around the Home.
We welcome volunteers from all areas of the community and we will work with you and support you to make sure that you are placed in an area of the Home that will benefit from your skills and capabilities. We will take into account how often you would like to come in and the amount of time you can spend here.
Nightingale is a fully accessible building and an equal opportunity employer for both paid employees and volunteers.
Your initial contact with the Home will be a full interview with the Volunteers Co-ordinator, as well as being shown around the Home taking in our Activities Centre, the Synagogue, our numerous meeting rooms andConcert Hall along with a visit to several of our five residential and nursing units.
During the interview, we will talk about your motivation for volunteering at Nightingale and, most important of all, we will have a discussion about what you would like to do here, but more about the interview later.
Once you have decided that you would like to volunteer here and your police check is clear, you will be given a start date when you will have a full induction with me before being introduced to the unit or to the department where you will be working.
Once here, you will be given clear instructions as to what your role is. If you are befriending a resident, you will be introduced to the resident by me and/or a member of staff on the unit. If you are helping with activities, you will be part of an enthusiastic team who will be supportive and helpful as you settle in.
Whilst we appreciate that volunteers choose to volunteer so as to have some flexibility in their lives, it is important, that once you have agreed to take on a specific task that you are able to be here punctually, regularly and that you contact the Volunteers office or reception if you are unable to get in. Our residents’ lives are greatly enhanced by the presence of volunteers and are often disappointed if a volunteer doesn’t arrive when they said they would so please remember this when making the decision as to whether or not you would like to be a volunteer here.
We consider volunteers to be an important part of our Nightingale team and expect from our volunteers the same commitment and consideration we would expect from our paid staff. Equally we expect volunteers to be appreciated and valued by staff members and I would want to hear from any volunteer if they feel they are not being supported on their units.
Volunteers do many different things at Nightingale. The majority of volunteers are attached to a specific area of the Home, building relationships with individual residents as well as the staff.
Our main need is for befrienders. Befriending can mean that you sit and chat to a resident, that you take them out into our lovely gardens when the weather is nice or to the coffee shop for a drink and maybe a piece of cake. Some residents like to play a board game or need help with a hobby. You may be asked to help with reading or writing letters, or tidying up cupboards or drawers. Some residents have large families who visit regularly, others have no visitors at all. Nightingale is our residents’ home and we respect both their space, their independence and their needs and wants – as volunteers we are guests in their home and need to behave accordingly.
Other areas volunteers can help with are:
Administration: I am occasionally asked to find volunteers who don’t mind doing the run of the mill office tasks such as filing, data imputing into the computer or other jobs the paid staff can’t find time to do
Arts and Crafts: Our brand new Activities centre, only opened in November 2009, has proved to be a great success. It is now centred near most of the units and residents can drop in even if only for a cup of tea. Activities include a bank of computers, an extremely popular pottery section, tables for knitting and sewing, art work and at one end a kitchen where three times a week residents who spent their lives catering for family and friends can make cakes, biscuits or even soup to be enjoyed by everyone in the Centre. Other activities take place in the centre as well and in the summer residents are encouraged to sit on the lovely terrace outside and enjoy a breath of fresh air.
Outings: During the summer months, the Activities team organise plenty of outings to get residents out of the Home. These may include all day trips to Brighton or other seaside resorts. Residents may go to local parks or to garden centres, they may enjoy a trip to an art exhibition or the Wetland Centre in Barnes. These are only a few of the outings we arrange but we always need three or four volunteers for each outing because as our residents become more frail, more help is needed. Shopping trips take place all year round as to outings to the theatre or concerts.
Activities: Activities don’t only take place in the centre. Our activity co-ordinators often need support with sessions that go on on different Units such as a poetry group, bingo or play reading. Singalongs are popular as is any musical activity. Volunteers often run their own sessions such as Reminiscence groups, discussion groups, tea parties or even art appreciation sessions.
Hospital visiting: Residents are occasionally in hospital for a long time and a friendly visitor can make a big difference to their recovery especially if family and friends live far away.
Shop: We have a shop, which is open every afternoon except Saturday, run entirely by volunteers many of whom are fairly elderly. A rota system means most people only do one or two afternoons a month.
Help with feeding residents, manicures etc: Some residents need help with feeding especially at the evening meal when there are less staff on duty. Other ladies love having a manicure or a hand massage.
If you can’t come in regularly but you would really like to make a difference, perhaps you could host a lunch or tea party in your home. Providing your house has reasonable access, our residents love nothing more than experiencing home cooking. A small number of residents would be accompanied by a couple of staff members so all you need worry about is the food (which must comply with our religious dietary restrictions) and chatting to them.
If you are under the age of 18 you will not need clearance from the Criminal Record Bureau, but I will require a letter from your school or college which includes your home address and confirms you are who you say you are. If you are age 18 and over you will need to have a full CRB check.
Every year, youngsters apply to spend some time volunteering at Nightingale because either they wish to apply for medicine or some other area of the Care professions or they just like the idea of spending time with the older generation. Our residents love to see young people. As one young volunteer said to me:
“Talking to residents is like experiencing living history. Where I am learning about various wars or political dramas in my history class at school, when I come to Nightingale, I actually hear the stories from people who have lived through events such as the 2nd World War or the awful Holocaust…… I love it!”
As most students tend to be at school or college and can only volunteer in the late afternoon or weekends, befriending is the main opportunity for them although during the school holidays other opportunities can be found.
This website will give you an excellent overview of what goes on at Nightingale and you may already have an idea as to what you would like to do here. Whether or not you already know Nightingale, during an interview with me you will have an opportunity to meet members of the activity team and some of the nursing staff as well as any volunteers if they are in the building.
During our interview, we will talk about all the various opportunities open to volunteers and where you would best fit in. It may become clear during our meeting that volunteering at Nightingale is not for you. One interviewee who decided she did want to come here changed her mind after her first day working because she decided “she didn’t like older people!” I would like to avoid this scenario by talking things through in depth during the interview.
I am sure you will appreciate that our residents are a group of vulnerable people. Because of our legal duty of care to Nightingale residents we are obliged to check all volunteers with the Criminal Records Bureau. The form will be filled out during your interview and you will be asked to bring some documentation in with you.
No volunteer is allowed to start working at Nightingale until they have received clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau – this will be explained in greater detail during your interview, but also see below
In line with Local Authority registration, you will need to provide us with various forms of identification. When making an appointment with me I will give you a list of documents from which you can choose a number of documents to bring with you. I will also have to take a photo of you.
You will not be able to start volunteering until your preliminary Protection of Vulnerable Adults check comes through which usually takes about two weeks. A full CRB check can take several weeks or even months. Providing you are honest at interview, disclosing any past convictions, there should be no problems.
If you have had convictions for violence of any sort or recent convictions of theft, it is unlikely that we will be able to take you on – we have to put the well-being of our residents first.
105 Nightingale Lane London SW12 8NB Tel: 020 8673 3495
Nightingale Hammerson – Registered Charity 207316