Independent Suffolk charity, St Elizabeth Hospice has launched its ‘Support Our Shops’ campaign to encourage 100 new retail volunteers in 100 days.
Currently more than 1,500 volunteers generously give their time to support the hospice by carrying out roles in one of its 31 retail shops, through to volunteering on the hospice inpatient unit and supporting the hospice administrative teams.
However, as the hospice continues to expand its services to support more people throughout the region, it has also further developed its retail streams, with the additions of Moments Coffee Shop in Stowmarket, Heath Road Ipswich and the soon to open Ipswich Town Hall, Moments Coffee Shop.
Therefore, to support this development, the St Elizabeth Hospice team is launching ‘Support Our Shops’ to encourage more people to show their love for their hospice by volunteering for the much-loved Suffolk charity.
Jemma Wood, Head of Volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “As we continue to expand the hospice’s services and develop our retail arm, the need for more amazing retail volunteers has increased.
“This, combined with the impact of Covid-19 seeing our volunteer numbers decline, means we are calling on local people to ‘show your love for your community and volunteer for your local hospice’, through the launch of Support Our Shops in order to achieve our goal of 100 new volunteers in 100 days.
“This is an ambitious target but we are confident in the generosity of the Suffolk community who every year give continued support to the hospice. Everyone has a skill which can make a difference and no matter what time you are able to give to volunteering, you will be helping a cause which cares for so many in your community when support is needed most.”
Every year St Elizabeth Hospice delivers specialist palliative care to more than 3,000 people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, and their families, throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
Annually this service costs the hospice £12.9 million to deliver, with 70% of these funds being generated by income streams such as the hospice’s retail shops.
One St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer is Maria Rosier, who has volunteered at the hospice’s Bungay retail shop since 2016.
“The St Elizabeth Hospice shop is a real community hub for Bungay,” explained Maria.
“I really would recommend volunteering to anyone as it allows you to make a difference to your local community and no matter how much time you are able to give, it really is valued and it is good for your own mental health.
“As well as this, you learn new skills and meet new people and friends. You give a little but get you so much back, it is a very rewarding process.”
While, 17-year-old, Markan Yohannes volunteers at the hospice’s Zest retail shop in Ipswich which raises funds for St Elizabeth Hospice’s young adult service, Zest.
Markan said: “Volunteering at Zest has been a great experience. I like meeting new people and as I have just recently moved to England, after previously living in France and Eritrea, volunteering at Zest has helped me greatly with improving my English.
“Lucy (the Zest shop manager) and her team have taught me so much since I began volunteering, with each shift bringing a new job to learn and that’s helped me develop and made me feel a bigger part of the team.
“There is such a warm atmosphere at the shop and it feels nice to help others, while you also develop yourself at the same time. Volunteering at Zest is really rewarding and worthwhile.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/sos-support-our-shops/