Maybe you’ve caught the radio bug, or perhaps are wanting to get involved with some local voluntary work within hospital radio, making a real difference to patients here at the Horton General Hospital. Whether you like chatting behind a microphone, face-to-face, or perhaps becoming involved with some great fundraising activities, this page will give you a bit of an insight into our volunteering opportunities and what it’s like to be part of hospital radio.

Watch our presentation which details more about volunteering with Radio Horton or read our current volunteer vacancies.

Stories from our Volunteers

Listen to Radio Horton’s Anthony Brown and Sam Smette talking to Sophie Law on BBC Radio Oxford about their volunteering experience:

Frequently Asked Questions

• Hospital Broadcasting in the UK

All over the UK, patients can hear music, news and information from their local hospital radio service.  Radio Horton exists to help alleviate sickness and infirmity among patients in the Horton General Hospital.  As an organisation striving to achieve this, we expect our volunteers to share our commitment to, and interest in the welfare of patients in hospital.

Radio Horton volunteer in the studioHospital radio aims to provide comfort and entertainment to patients in hospital with a special mix of music and chat. The service also keeps patients in touch with their family and friends with music requests and local news items over the Internet.

Our station is a member of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA), a national organisation which oversees the many hospital radio stations across the country. If you are not in Banbury but want to become involved with your hospital radio station, visit the HBA Member Stations website for details of your local station.

Like all hospital stations, Radio Horton is run entirely by dedicated volunteers, who give many valuable hours to help provide a first class broadcasting service to the patients in the Horton General Hospital.  We have no paid staff and receive no regular income from the NHS or other Government sources. The biggest reward for a hospital broadcasting volunteer is to make a patient’s time in hospital a little easier.

• What’s involved in being a volunteer in hospital broadcasting?

We provide a special service to hospital patients, and only a small part is about presenting programmes! Keeping the station running takes a lot of work, and most stations expect volunteers to help with a range of jobs including:

Ward Visitors:

We are looking for warm friendly people with good communication skills who are prepared to spend time explaining to patients what Radio Horton has to offer. Many patients find it difficult to use or have not been told about the Hospedia Patient Entertainment system and may need help. Staff may not be aware there is hospital radio; a Ward Visitor can help with both.  During your visiting of the wards you will also be able to ask patients if they would like anything to be played for them on thrice weekly request programmes.

Other roles:

  • Presenting patient-participation programmes
  • Presenting/Producing programmes of interest to our listeners
  • Outside Broadcast
  • Non broadcasting support role such as: Promotion/publicity and fundraising
  • Public address at local events
  • Sound Engineering

• What skills do I need?

You should be able to communicate well. It helps if you are outgoing and enjoy meeting people, especially for collecting requests on the wards or fundraising for Radio Horton. You don’t need expert knowledge of music, nor any technical expertise. The most important skills you can contribute are a willingness to learn, be part of a team and be able to make a regular commitment.

• Do I have to go on air?

Most members want to be involved in programmes, but you won’t be forced to speak on air if you don’t want to! You’ll be equally welcome if you just want to visit the wards, chat to the patients and collect requests.

• How much time will I have to give?

If you are looking to be involved with a programme, this can only work if you are able to make a regular commitment, during daytime or evening. We can be fairly flexible in terms of when you volunteer but would ask that this is a regular commitment of at least one hour per week.

Presenting a show doesn’t just mean turning up at the studio and going on air, it also means visiting the wards to collect requests, finding the recordings in the library and the music playout system, doing the programme, and putting everything away afterwards.

There is a probation period for all new members which helps Radio Horton colleagues get to know new members and vice versa. It is hoped that all members will support the fundraising, public events and outside broadcasts. Because stations are run by volunteers, most extra activities happen in the evenings or at weekends.

You will be invited to attend any membership meetings and our Annual General Meeting (AGM). These are great opportunities to get more involved, meet other members and find out what’s going on and ask any questions to the trustees.

• Is there an age limit?

Radio Horton requires that members are aged 16 and over. You may only stand as a trustee if you are 18 or over.

• Can I join the committee?

We have a number of vacancies on our trustee board and in particular look for individuals who may offer a skillset that is required to oversee certain elements of managing the organisation. Roles may include (but are not limited to): Chairperson; Treasurer; Secretary; Events Coordinator; Programme Coordinator; Ward Visitor Liaision; Membership Administrator; Publicity & Marketing; Fundraising Officer; to name but a few.

If you do not have a particular skill to offer but wish to stand on the committee we do allow for some roles without a specific portfolio. 

Members can stand for election prior to an AGM and be voted by the membership. Please contact the Chairman if you have any questions and/or would like to stand for a position.

You can find full details of roles we are recruiting for on our Committee Vacancies page.

• Does Radio Horton offer Work Experience placements?

As a voluntary organisation, Radio Horton is unable to offer work experience. However, on request we may be able to give brief studio visits and group discussions about hospital radio, or work with students undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh award where voluntary work may be a prerequisite. Please contact the Committee for more information.

• What will it cost?

There is an annual membership subscription of £10.00. In return you will be given a Radio Horton polo shirt and name badge. This is payable at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or online in advance. Concessions are made for students and seniors and there are exemptions dependent on an individual’s personal circumstances which we would be happy to discuss with prospective candidates.

• Will hospital broadcasting help my career?

Radio Horton volunteers, Mel and Chris spreading the festive cheer at Sainsbury's

Any voluntary work can be put on your CV (and that applies to any job, not just the media). This experience can also be included in a UCAS personal statement. However, it is all good experience – many professional broadcasters started in hospital stations and we’ll be happy to share our skills with you as long as you support a range of station activities.

Radio Horton has, in the past, had volunteers go on to work as broadcast journalists, reporters or presenters for the BBC, Sky and some commercial broadcasters too. Others have launched podcasts or found they have been able to utilise their experience in new environments, for example, public speaking.

• How do I find Radio Horton?

The Radio Horton studios are on the ground floor of the Horton General Hospital next to the Children’s ward, 101 Oxford Road, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 9AL. The studio phone number is 01295 229211 and you can contact us by email, [email protected]. There are regular bus services to the Horton, to and from Banbury Town Centre. Visit the Horton General Hospital website for more details.

• Recruitment of volunteers

We ask prospective volunteers to complete and return an application form and then invite them to visit the studio so that you can find out more about us and we can get to know you.

As part of the joining process you will be asked to:

  • Complete an online Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, which will require you providing to us three documents to confirm proof of identity. We will also need residential address history for the last five years.
  • Complete a Health Assessment form as required by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Complete statutory and mandatory training required by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and affirm that you adhere to the Acceptable Behaviours Policy and I.T. Policy set out by Radio Horton.

• Getting Started

Once we get satisfactory DBS clearance, we will invite you to the studio for an induction session, and make arrangements for you to start volunteering, and to undertake all of the necessary training.

Still keen? We hope we’ve answered all the questions you’re asking, but if we haven’t, you’re welcome to give us a shout and we will certainly do our best to put your mind at ease. Just drop us an email for more information.

Click one of the buttons below to apply to become a member, or if you’re still undecided, why not register your interest and we’ll be pleased to meet you to talk about our volunteering opportunities and give you a tour of our studio.

We look forward to welcoming you on board!