Helping those with Illness and Disability

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Volunteering for charities that support people with health issues and disabilities will contribute towards making their lives more manageable. Your presence as a volunteer may be appreciated more than that of a paid professional because you are there purely out of kindness and compassion. 

There are plenty of ways to get involved – from supporting a birthing woman to helping a disabled person learn a new skill, such as sewing or cooking. Whichever way you choose to help, you are opening the door to an incredibly rewarding experience.

What sort of roles are available?


carer holding hand

In roles such as these, you will be supporting an individual with a health condition or disability by talking to them, keeping them company and helping them get out and about. You may also help them with practical tasks around the home.

This role is best suited to someone who is able to dedicate a few hours a week over a prolonged period as the aim is to build up a relationship with the person in need – and this is often built on trust. Befriender and Carer type roles are available via charities such as Mencap who support people with mental health disabilities.


Doula’s often work on a voluntary basis and their role is to support pregnant women and their families before, during and after birth. Often the support is emotional – the Doula will work one-on-one with the mother to help her cope with the changes she is going through. Doula’s can also help new mothers adjust to motherhood by offering practical help on breastfeeding, bathing etc.

As you will be building up a relationship with women and their families, you should be prepared to commit for an extended period of time and put in voluntary hours in an ad hoc fashion, as and when needed. For more information on becoming a Doula, take a look at Doula UK.

Dog Therapy Visitor

If you have a cat or dog who is fully vaccinated, has been with you for 6 months and is over 9 months old, you could become a Pets as Therapy Volunteer. You will take your cat or dog into local hospitals, residential homes, schools, prisons and day care centres to visit those who could benefit from time spent cuddling or stroking an animal.

It has been scientifically proven that stroking an animal reduces stress and improves overall health. This is a great opportunity to work with your animal companion to bring comfort and joy to those who need it. All animals are fully vetted and approved before they undertake the role and the role is fully flexible – there is no minimum time commitment.

Hospice Volunteer

As a Hospice Volunteer e.g. with Marie Curie, you will be placed in an extremely privileged position. You will help shape many people’s last few days, weeks or months of life, making this time as positive as it can be.

There are multiple ways to get involved by volunteering just a few hours of your time each week. Whether you want to organise fun activities for patients, help with the gardening or just keep patients company – there’s something for everyone.

Additional roles supporting healthcare and disability charities

For more information on supporting healthcare and disability charities in ‘behind the scenes’ roles, please click through to our, Charity Shop Work, Office & Admin, Fundraising and Driving pages, or explore the range of charities below.

Which charities can I volunteer for?

Doula UK, Carers Network, Mencap, KEEN, Special Olympics, St John’s Ambulance, Pets as Therapy, Stroke Association, MacMillan, The Brain Charity, Marie Curie,

Volunteering in your local community

For local volunteering roles with healthcare and disability charities, you could speak to your local care homes and hospitals about current vacancies and how to apply.

Why volunteer later in life?

More and more people are finding satisfaction in Volunteering. Find out why you should become a volunteer and the benefits it can bring.

Explore volunteering roles

There are so many ways you can make a difference. Discover a wide range of volunteering opportunities and find the role that’s right for you.

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