DOG therapy, recycling second-hand furniture and chatting to patients are just some of the volunteer services available at the hospital.

As part of a weekly feature exploring Salisbury’s hospital, the Journal met with members of the volunteering team to find out about the range of services they provide.

Volunteers offer a minimum of three hours work a week, and with jobs including serving tea and food, interacting with patients, guiding visitors around the hospital and manning the bookshop, there is something for everyone.

Jo Jarvis, voluntary services manager, has worked in the hospital for 15 years, and in that time the number of volunteers has increased from 250 to around 700.

She described the NHS as a sponge cake, with staff as the icing and volunteers as the sprinkles on top.

“[Volunteers are] an extra pair of hands, it’s excellent because the local community are really supporting us,” she added.

Judy Pollard, who has been a volunteer for 20 years and can be found working at the hospital’s book store, added: “It gets us out of the house and makes us feel useful, it’s good for our wellbeing and health, and it helps patients.”

Escorting dogs across wards is another volunteer service at the hospital, where owners bring their dogs on site to spend time with patients.

About six dogs are currently signed up to the scheme, that can either be groomed, petted, walked on a lead or just be treated as a companion.

Eve White, who volunteers for charity Pets as Therapy, brings her dogs Hector and Henry to the hospital every week to interact with patients.

She said it’s the “smile and animation” that comes over patients that makes volunteering with her pets worthwhile, adding: “It’s been proven that animals calm people down, they have something else to think about.

"I’ve had the most fantastic treatment from this hospital, always had good care and lots of kindness and support from the hospital, I thought it was now time to repay a bit of that kindness.”

The hospital would like to pay thanks to therapy dog, Paddy, who sadly died on Saturday and had been visiting patients since 2012.