Over Christmas, St Elizabeth Hospice provided vital care to hundreds of people living with progressive and life-limiting illnesses and their families across East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
In November, the independent Suffolk charity announced the launch of its Be a Star appeal to encourage the communities of Norfolk and Suffolk to support the hospice during the festive period and as a New Year’s resolution for 2021.
From purchasing items, from St Elizabeth Hospice’s online store to carrying out social distanced fundraising activities, making donations or volunteering time to help the hospice as part of a New Year’s resolution, there are a number of ways to take part in the Be a Star appeal.
John Caley is one of more than 1,600 volunteers who generously give their time to support the hospice. These volunteers support the hospice in many ways, including working in one of its 31 retail shops, through to volunteering on the hospice inpatient unit.
“The hospice provides such a personal service to people and their families, during very challenging times, and most importantly it allows them to spend quality time together,” explains John.
“Being from Ipswich I know many people who have been cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice or have worked there, so to be able to support the hospice in any way possible is very important to me.”
John has been volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice for more than ten years, in a role which sees him volunteer on the hospice’s inpatient unit.
Working every other Saturday, John is a familiar face to many as he serves meals and hot drinks to both patients and their families, as well as talking and listening to patients to provide support and check they are comfortable.
John added: “I think many people believe hospices are quiet and depressing places, but I have never found this the case. Although it can be sad at times, you are surrounded by people who are making the most of time in a warm atmosphere.
“I have also volunteered at Christmas before, when the atmosphere is suitably seasonal but the same level of care and attention is applied throughout the hospice.”
John is no stranger to the importance of hospice and healthcare work, with his father having been cared for at home by St Elizabeth Hospice in 2002.
“I have never forgotten the care and support provided by the hospice and Pip, one of the nurses,” said John.
“Also, my wife Glenis works for St Elizabeth Hospice after being inspired to become a nurse following the care given by Addenbrooke’s and Ipswich hospitals to our youngest son when he was diagnosed as having a Wilm’s tumour.
“After seeing Glenis being able to give back to the healthcare sector, I decided I would volunteer and here I am ten years later!
“I would encourage anyone to volunteer, especially in these trying times. Although it does give you a personal sense of well-being, the over-riding feeling is that you know the little bit of support you’ve provided for someone has helped in the bigger picture of all the hospice does for its patients with its invaluable services.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or to find out how to support the Be a Star appeal visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/be-a-star/be-a-star-appeal or call 01473 727776.