“I have made so many friends and met lots of lovely people through volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice,” explains Sandra Tyrrill, who has been a St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer since 2020.
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 Sandra, whose generosity enables St Elizabeth Hospice to continue evolving its services to care for more people in the local community
“I started volunteering for the hospice at their Heath Road Shop, after my sister, who also volunteers, recommended I give it a go,” said Sandra, who lives in Ipswich.
“This was just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which put a stop to all shops being open, so when the lockdowns began to loosen, I then started volunteering at St Elizabeth Hospice’s Furniture Shop on Foxhall Road, which is very near my home.”
From working on the tills and preparing clothes to helping with displays, such as the bric-a-brac department, each shift provides a different role for Sandra to do. Every week she volunteers for three afternoon shifts which fits well with her home life and visits to hospital to support her husband.
She added: “The team are very accommodating and always let me be flexible with my shifts whenever it is needed.
“Outside of volunteering I enjoy baking, cooking and making jewellery and even donate some of my jewellery to the shop for them to sell. While I also bake cakes for the café across the road too. I love the fact the shop is at the heart of the community, it’s allowed me to make new friendships and support people in my local community.
“After retiring, I was in a bit of a rut and wanted something to do which enabled me to give back to my community and volunteering has given me this, as well as a sense of purpose which has been so beneficial to my mental health.
“I actually find my shifts at the shop very therapeutic, especially after lockdown which put a stop to seeing people and being active.
“It has given me a sense of identity which I have missed since retiring. You learn new skills, make new friends and you develop such a brilliant rapport with the regular customers.
“To have so many benefits but also know that you are giving back to such an important charity in your local community, is a very rewarding feeling to have.
“None of us know if or when we may need the hospice but they are always there and through volunteering you are able to help the charity as it supports people in your local community.
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/.