Established by St Elizabeth Hospice in 2015, Zest is a scheme which sees the independent Suffolk charity work closely with children’s hospices to ensure young adults have a smooth transition into adult care.
Supporting young adults aged 14 and upwards with progressive and life-limiting illnesses, Zest ensures all the young people, under its care, receive specialist support, tailored treatment and services needed to be able to enjoy life to the full.
Currently 36 young people and 124 family members utilise Zest’s services. From its industry unique Short Breaks, which allows young people to take time out from their daily routine and provides vital respite for families, through to its parent support group and monthly X-Change evening social group for patients, Zest enables young adults with challenging conditions to fulfil their aspirations.
More than 1,500 volunteers generously give their time to support Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice. These volunteers provide support in many ways, including working in the Zest retail shop, in Ipswich, or by working alongside Zest staff in supporting young adults at X-Change evenings and weekend drop in sessions.
One Zest volunteer is 20-year-old Ed Wagland, a student at Suffolk One, who has been volunteering one day a week at Zest retail shop in Ipswich throughout summer 2022.
“Volunteering at Zest this summer has been a lot of fun,” said Ed, who lives in Boxford.
“As part of our work experience programme at college, they helped organise my placement and it has been really useful in allowing me to learn new skills and understand more about working life.”
Volunteering sees supporters donate any amount of time they are able to do so, with Ed having flexibility to continue his studies and enjoy his hobbies – including supporting Project 21, dance, sport and art – while still volunteering for Zest.
He added: “It has been great helping on the tills, meeting and supporting customers, steaming clothes so they are ready to go on to the shop floor and generally helping with day-to-day running of the shop.
“Lucy and her team are all very warm and welcoming, so the time flies by when volunteering at Zest.
“I have found volunteering has helped me prepare for potential jobs in the future and has taught me many new skills. Volunteering has been a brilliant experience but it is made even better by knowing your support, makes a contribution to the brilliant services of Zest.
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.
To find out further about Zest visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/about-us/about-us/zest