Maria Rosier - retail volunteer at St Elizabeth Hospice Bungay shop

Since launching in April 2019, more than 3,100 people have received free specialist palliative care from the healthcare partnership of St Elizabeth Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH).

The joint initiative was established with the aim of bringing greater parity in the levels and range of care available to the communities of Great Yarmouth and Waveney in comparison to the rest of the region.

Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and neurological disorder, patients and their families, have received free support through the partnership’s varied specialist care provision.

This includes the service’s 24-hour advice line OneCall, at Beccles Hospital, community care through hospice clinical nurse specialists working across Waveney and Great Yarmouth and the hospice’s emotional, wellbeing and bereavement support service, LivingGrief.

This care is made possible by the staff from the hospice and ECCH but also by more than 100 volunteers who generously give their time to support the service. These volunteers provide their help in many ways, including supporting fundraising events, working in the administration teams, providing assistance to clinical staff and working in one of St Elizabeth Hospice’s seven retail shops in Great Yarmouth and Waveney such as in Beccles, Gorleston and Southwold.

One St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer is Maria Rosier, who has volunteered at the hospice’s Bungay retail shop since 2016, beginning her volunteering shortly after moving to Bungay with her husband Eddie Rosier.

“I began volunteering for St Elizabeth Hospice following a recommendation from a friend of mine who also volunteered at the Bungay shop,” explained Maria.

“With my husband being assistant town clerk on Bungay Town Council and myself taking part in various community projects, such as art groups and being on the board of governors at Castle East School, I am always looking at ways to engage with my local community and volunteering at the shop allows me to do this.

“The St Elizabeth Hospice shop is a real community hub for Bungay. The team are all very welcoming and the shop manager, Julie, is so accommodating, you instantly feel a part of the team and are valued for the support you give, no matter how many hours this may be.

“My shifts are flexible, but I usually volunteer every Monday between 1 and 4.3.0pm which fits well with my family life which, with having three grown up children, six grandchildren and two step-grandchildren, is quite active!”

A typical day volunteering in the Bungay retail shop sees Maria helping organise donations, working on tills and working alongside colleagues to develop ideas on how to promote and present the store to the public.

She added: “I enjoy engaging with the public at the shop. People come in to buy items but they also visit to have conversations which is such an important function for community wellbeing and it is lovely to be a part of that in some way, through my volunteering.

“All the volunteers are friendly with a great sense of humour and are keen to support the hospice and its service provision throughout Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

“Similar to many people in Suffolk, I have my own personal connection to the hospice as my brother-in-law received amazing support from their services in the community, at his home, which made such difference to both him and my sister-in-law.

“St Elizabeth Hospice provides a lifeline to so many people and their families. You never know when you may need their support, but they are there when it matters most and to be able to help this charity in any way at all is very special to me.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent government lockdowns saw the temporary closure of all the hospice charity shops, including Bungay, Maria managed to raise more than £500 for the charity through a small stall she created outside her home – selling items she had after decluttering as well as donations from friends and the community. While safety guidelines at the time meant the stall was unattended, the public still gave generously with their suggested donations.

“Eddie and I were so pleased with the amount we managed to raise for the hospice with our stall, alongside friends and the local community, it highlights the community spirit in Bungay.

“I really would recommend volunteering to anyone as it allows you to make a difference to your local community and no matter how much time you are able to give, it really is valued and it is good for your own mental health.

“As well as this, you learn new skills and meet new people and friends. You give a little but get you so much back, it is a very rewarding process.”

To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email or visit

Further information about the partnership’s services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney can found by visiting

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