“I enjoy volunteering at the St Elizabeth shop in Felixstowe, as it helps me give back to my local community,” explained Bethan Pilcher, who has volunteered as a retail assistant, for the independent Suffolk charity, since June 2022.
Every year more than 3,000 people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, and their families, are supported throughout east Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney by the free specialist palliative care provision of St Elizabeth Hospice.
This care is provided by hospice staff who operate throughout the region but who are supported by a fantastic team of volunteers, like Bethan, whose generosity enables St Elizabeth Hospice to continue evolving its services to care for more people in the local community.
“My auntie, Amber Swinn, is the manager at the St Elizabeth Hospice shop in Felixstowe, so I was aware of the shop and always liked coming in myself as a customer to purchase items,” said Bethan, 19-years-old.
“I finished my A-Levels in the summer of 2022, and I enjoy keeping myself busy with my passion for writing about fashion on my blog and learning more about the retail world, so volunteering at the hospice shop was a perfect opportunity to gain more experience in this field.
“The shop has a great atmosphere and you always leave every volunteering shift with a smile on your face as the team are so welcoming and the customers, who come to the shop, are so lovely too.
“From volunteering at the shop I have gained a behind the scenes insight into how a shop is run, how items are presented and prepared which I am sure will benefit in my future career path; it has been so interesting to learn these skills and see them put into practice.”
Typically, Bethan volunteers for three hours every Monday and Friday, which fits well with her life outside of volunteering, including socialising with friends, writing her lifestyle blog and uploading videos and images to her Instagram account, which also focusses on lifestyle and fashion.
She added: “Volunteering for the hospice is flexible and works well with my life outside of volunteering, while I also often pick up extra shifts to help the team out too.
“Every shift presents the chance to learn something new, whether that is working the tills, steaming the clothes or learning further about shop presentation and window decorating. I constantly feel I am learning and developing my skillset, and I am always purchasing items from the shop myself, as there are so many gems to be found here!
“I especially feel that my confidence has increased through volunteering at the shop and meeting new people every day.
“From being at the shop, I am understanding more and more how important the hospice is to so many people in my local community, it really feels a privilege to be able to support the charity and the work they do.
“Volunteering is something I would recommend to anyone. At first I was a little apprehensive and nervous, but the hospice team and all the customers are so welcoming and passionate about supporting the charity, it is a pleasure to be a part of the hospice.
“Through volunteering for St Elizabeth Hospice you can develop your own skills and make new friends while also supporting a charity that makes such a vital difference in your community. You have nothing to lose, so give it a try!”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email email@example.com or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.