St Elizabeth Hospice is thanking its team of volunteers for their hard work, support and dedication as part of their Valuing Volunteers Month.
The local charity has dedicated June to celebrating and appreciating the 1,100 people who volunteer for them.
National Volunteers Week runs from 1st – 7th June where across the nation, volunteers are recognised for the outstanding contribution they make.
Rebecca Barwick, St Elizabeth Hospice’s Volunteer Services Officer, said: “We have more than 1,100 wonderful volunteers who give up their time to support the Hospice, so instead of dedicating just one week to thanking them for their invaluable support, we dedicate the whole of June.
“Without the help of our volunteers, we couldn’t continue to provide vital care and support to more than 2,000 local people and their families every year – so we want to make sure they feel valued for everything they do for us.
“Between them they save us an incredible £1.1million a year and contribute more than 2,000 hours of work per week – we simply couldn’t open our doors without them – they are the lifeblood of our organisation and we cannot thank them enough for what they do.”
To celebrate their volunteers, the Hospice organises a Volunteer Summer Event every June which all volunteers are invited to attend where they can enjoy afternoon tea, music and mingling, and long service awards are handed out to those who have volunteered for five, ten, 15, 20 and 25 years.
Joan Read has been volunteering at the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Felixstowe since it opened in 2000 and this year she will be awarded with her 15 year long service award.
Joan began volunteering in the shop with her husband Ray, whom she has been married to for over 60 years.
Joan started volunteering as a way of giving back to her local community, which she loves, but when Ray, who is now cared for in a Home, became ill with Dementia it was often also ‘respite’ for her in the early stages of his illness.
Joan said: “Volunteering at the Hospice shop is what saves me from being alone.
“My regular work in the shop is a life saver and my shifts give me the independence and confidence I need.
“It has been, and remains, a pleasure to work here.”
Wendy Jefferson has been volunteering at the Hospice since 1989 and after working on reception, and helping in the Inpatient Unit and the Day Centre, she has recently taken on a brand new role as Day Care Activities Co-ordinator.
She now organises a range of activities for the Hospice’s day patients to enjoy, ranging from creative to physical and she arranges for external visitors to come in including PAT dogs, a pianist, cake-decorator and a hedgehog breeder.
Wendy said: “I have always enjoyed organising and I am enjoying this more substantial role and working with other volunteers to create a varied and exciting activities programme for our patients.
“It’s a privilege to volunteer at the Hospice. It’s such a warm and friendly environment where you really feel you can make a difference. I’ve met a lot of lovely people and I would definitely encourage others to come and be part of this caring, inspirational place.”
Tim Baskett has been volunteering at the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Aldeburgh for over a year.
Tim, who has cerebal palsy and uses a wheelchair is hoping that his morning volunteering in the shop every week will help him get a similar customer-facing job.
He said: “I started volunteering at the shop to boost my confidence and to gain some experience in the retail sector to boost my CV.
“I am trained as an Administrator in Marketing and as a Customer Advisor, and working in the shop chatting to customers and serving their retail needs is giving me more experience so I can get that kind of job.”
St Elizabeth Hospice is always on the lookout for more people to join their team and be part of their community. If you want to find out more about volunteering for your local Hospice, visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/volunteer or call 01473 707016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org