The charity focuses its support on four core groups:

Patients and their families, whether those who live locally to the hospitals or those who come from further away to use the trust’s specialist services. We enhance the experience of patients throughout their hospital journey, through the services we provide directly and the programmes and equipment we fund on the wards.

Staff of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, so they can deliver the best possible healthcare.

Researchers working in our hospitals and partner institutes, enabling the Royal Free London to have both a local impact and the potential of national and global reach.

Developing new and innovative therapies, and purchasing the latest medical equipment.


In depth

We fund research, equipment and projects that impact positively on staff wellbeing and patient outcomes. We support bench-to-bedside research activity that sees patients benefit from research findings quickly and safely.

We’re the only NHS charity in the UK providing a hospital-based welfare rights and benefits advice service for patients. We actively prevent homelessness, and we help patients to access the financial and community support they need as a result of their illness.

Patient receiving a massage from one of our expert therapists

While many NHS hospitals provide massage therapy for patients with cancer, we’re the only one in the UK providing a hospital-wide clinical massage service for all patients. Our specialist complementary therapy team assists patient recovery and rehabilitation as well as making a positive contribution to patients’ emotional wellbeing. ​


Danielle, our volunteer in the corridors of the hospital with a trolley

Our 300 volunteers and 14 pet therapy dogs make a direct and meaningful contribution to organisational efficiency, innovation and patient outcomes. There are 20 distinct volunteer roles ranging from the practical to the pastoral, from the everyday to the innovative.

While much of the support we provide is traditionally associated with NHS volunteering – helping patients to get to their appointments in a timely manner, providing mealtime help to patients and running a daily trolley shop service – many roles have been designed to meet a specific need and are unique to the RFL community.

These include delivering virtual reality therapy to staff, soon to be rolled out to patients receiving chemotherapy, and our digital volunteer initiative which sees volunteers supporting patients who lack digital skills, making sure they can access virtual appointments.

Four of our young volunteers outside Royal Free Hospital

We were the first NHS charity in the UK to lower the age for volunteers when we designed our young volunteering programme.

This has traditionally been a springboard for young people in our local communities who want to pursue a career in healthcare. We are now developing that programme to support young people with additional needs. This includes young autistic people and those with learning disabilities.