Over Christmas, St Elizabeth Hospice provided vital care to more than 850 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 directly support the hospice this year.
Annie Bowen Wright 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.
“I love volunteering in the hospice where the atmosphere is calm and the work is extremely rewarding, as you are helping a vital community service which makes a big difference to many people and their families,” explains Annie.
“Everyone has a right to die with dignity, respect, kindness and compassion and the hospice provides this care and so much more. From emotional and bereavement support to day care services, for those living with progressive illnesses as well as their families and carers, by volunteering you help to contribute to this wonderful holistic service that supports so many in the community.”
Annie, who lives in Stowupland, has been volunteering at the hospice since May 2013 and as part of her role she volunteers twice a week at the hospice’s inpatient unit.
She is no stranger to the importance of hospice work, with previous experience volunteering at St Christopher’s hospice in London. As well as running the London Marathon in 1999 to raise funds for St John’s Hospice in London, where her husband had worked as an anaesthetist.
Annie added: “People often have the misconception volunteering at a hospice will be depressing. This is not the case. Yes it can be sad at times, but you are helping and meeting people who are making the most of life and time and this is rewarding.
“Another misconception is hospices are places where people go to die. Not everyone who is admitted to the inpatient unit is at their end of life.
“Some need medication reviewed or tweaked to improve their pain relief or other symptoms before returning home, while others may be admitted for respite care, so that their family or carer can have a well-earned break. The hospice’s is about improving quality of life.”
A typical day’s work for Annie, on the hospice’s inpatient unit, sees her help with the serving and feeding of meals to patients, checking patients are comfortable, assisting nurses with giving patients personal care, making beds and handing out hot or cold drinks.
“I would encourage anyone who has some free time to consider volunteering for St. Elizabeth Hospice,” added Annie.
“There are many avenues to do this and if they have a particular skill, for example, an artist or hairdresser, there is always a role the hospice can find for them. I have been a nurse for over 50 years and volunteering in the hospice is the most rewarding job I have done.
“Volunteers are so important in helping to deliver high quality care and they give something back to the community as well as making new friends and learning new skills.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email email@example.com.