According to Hospice UK, more than 125,000 volunteers support 220 hospices, helping to deliver quality care to those who need it. This week hospices are paying tribute to the many nurses, doctors, therapists, chaplains and gardeners who support them.
Phyllis Tuckwell’s volunteers include students hoping for a career in healthcare and in need of experience, sixth form pupils who want to boost their CV, and individuals who want to re-train or get back into work after having had some time off.
Julia Morpeth, Voluntary Services Manager at the Surrey hospice said:
“Our volunteers are absolutely amazing, and we would like to thank every single one of them for the time and energy which they give so freely. Our patients and their families love the interaction and support they get from our volunteers, and our staff are hugely appreciative of the time that they so generously give in helping us to provide the best end of life care we can.”
Mountbatten on the Isle of Wight is hosting an afternoon tea for its volunteers on Thursday 7, and shop volunteers will receive hampers of goodies as a thank you for their support.
Chief executive Nigel Hartley said:
“We are truly grateful to the hundreds of Islanders who volunteer with Mountbatten and give their time to really make a difference to people’s lives. I hope that they are able to join in the celebrations and know how much their involvement with Mountbatten means to those we support.
At a recent volunteer thank you event at Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice in Sussex, CEO Hugh Lowson spoke about how the hours gifted to the charity by volunteers last year made all the difference.
Dee Willmott has volunteered here since 2002, before the hospice first opened the following year, working on reception. She said:
“Chestnut Tree House is a big part of my life. I come every Monday and it gives a structure to my week and the chance to give something back. If I did not have Chestnut Tree House in my life, it would be a lot quieter! But I cannot ever envisage not coming – I love it!”
Steve Richards, HR and Voluntary Services Director said:
“There is no greater gift someone can give to another person than time. Every day we have is precious and that so many volunteers choose to make the gift of using their time helping others through our volunteering opportunities is something that we cherish at Chestnut Tree House.
“I hope that every volunteer knows how much we value their commitment to the work we do together, helping people every day.”
At Francis House Children’s Hospice the volunteers range in ages from 20 to 92. They are essential to the smooth running of the hospice, and Francis House wants to thank each and every person for giving their time in so many ways.
Sue Altree, a retired teacher from Cheadle Hulme, began volunteering on the Saturday tea-time team in 2002. She said:
“I had a look around and thought what a fantastic cause. I felt inspired by what was going on here and wanted to contribute towards it. I have really enjoyed it and the care team have been great, it is a really happy place to work.”
The hospice is currently calling for more kitchen helpers following the retirement of three dedicated volunteers who gave decades of service.
The brand new volunteer-led project at St Clare Hospice in Essex, Compassionate Neighbours, is helping people tackle loneliness and isolation. Project Manager Stacey Towler outlined the role of a Compassionate Neighbour, saying:
“People living with a life-limiting illness often struggle with loneliness and social isolation. Compassionate Neighbours can really make a difference and offer some extra support. They are a network of trained volunteers who offer their time, companionship and a listening ear to people living in their community who are coping with illness or old age. Compassionate Neighbours help others by visiting regularly; offering companionship and emotional support; helping them to do the things they like doing; and helping them stay connected to the community as well as family and friends.”
Volunteers’ Week runs till Thursday 7 June.