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 Carolyn Boyd, whose generosity enables St Elizabeth Hospice to continue evolving its services to care for more people in the local community.
Having worked in social care for 32 years, Carolyn always had a dream of running her own café or working in catering. As a regular customer to St Elizabeth Hospice’s Heath Road Coffee Shop in Ipswich, she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the coffee shop when she heard opportunities were available.
She explains: “I started just being a regular customer and loved going into the coffee shop on my own. I got to know lots of the staff and had a real feel of what the place was like. When I saw they had volunteer roles available, I knew this was an ideal opportunity, especially as the hospice is a case close to my heart and the coffee shop is based close to where I live.
“Similar to many people in Suffolk, I have a personal connection to St Elizabeth Hospice, with my Mum and my Auntie receiving support from their services, so to be able to give my time to help a charity which makes such a difference in my local community meant a lot to me.
“I have been volunteering for four months now, and typically volunteer one to two times a week. The staff really appreciate any time you can give, so it is easy to fit around your own home life.”
A normal shift sees Carolyn complete a 12-4pm volunteering shift, working on tills, helping prepare sandwiches and clearing the tables. Through the support of the Heath Road Coffee Shop she has learnt a range of new skills, which have since enabled her to realise her ambition of working in a café in town.
“I still volunteer at the Heath Road Coffee Shop, but the skills they have taught me have helped massively in getting my job. The experience was so vital and gave me a valuable insight into the world of catering,” she said.
“I would recommend volunteering there to anyone, as it’s such a nice place to be with lovely people and a chilled out atmosphere.
“Through volunteering you can better yourself, meet new people and learn new skills and also show your support to such a vital local charity, in St Elizabeth Hospice.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.