A local hospice charity is taking the opportunity during Volunteers’ Week to thank its amazing team of over 200 volunteers, who give over 3,000 hours of their time every week.
Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust is commemorating the UK-wide initiative, that takes place every year from 1st to 7th June, by giving thanks to its incredible volunteer team.
The hospice provides free services to patients and families who are affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement across the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.
The volunteer team plays an enormous role in supporting this vital service provision – at the hospice building in Chapel-en-le-Frith; in patient’s homes; at fundraising events; and in the charity’s high street shops, and online stores.
Julie Forrest, volunteer manager at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust, said: ‘We are incredibly grateful to our volunteers every single day of the year, not just during Volunteers’ Week. There is no two ways about it; we would not be able to do what we do without them. We have an incredible team who constantly surprise us with their talents and skills. It is an honour, and a privilege to support and manage the team.’
The hospice is on the lookout for new volunteers to join the team and support local hospice care. There are a range of opportunities available; with regular positions, and roles on a more ad-hoc basis.
Julie explained: ‘Our volunteers aren’t paid but they give their time to us for a variety of personal reasons, and the rewards include knowing that they are part of a team that makes a real difference to people in our community living with a life-limiting illness, or affected by bereavement.’
To learn a language
Karma Francomb has volunteered at the hospice’s Whaley Bridge shop since November 2011, five months after she arrived in England from Bhutan. She said: ‘Volunteering is not just for English people. I encourage all non-native speakers to volunteer too. There is no better way to learn about the English culture and improve your language skills, than volunteering. I wanted to get a message across to all the young people that volunteering is not just for retired people. There is no age limit for volunteering.’
To embrace the community
Olena Kleimenova volunteered at the Whaley Bridge department store on Market Street in summer 2022, after moving to the UK with her son from the horror of war in her home country, Ukraine. Olena explained: ‘I enjoy learning about the history of the people there. They are very helpful. It is a very positive and comforting experience, and it is helping me to learn English. It is good to get out of the house and I am happy that my work is helping people.’
To gain new skills and career experience
Will Pritchard has volunteered with the hospice’s online retail team since 2022, to gain experience and develop his skills in digital sales and communication. Will commented: ‘I find the role very fun, rewarding and exciting. I am boosting my skills whilst helping a charity that I think is amazing. It is something I am proud to say that I have done in my life. If you’re struggling to develop skills, looking for experience in a certain career field, or wondering what to do as a career, I would definitely recommend volunteering.’
To boost well-being and give something back to the community
Charlie Barnes became a hospice community volunteer in 2020. He explained: ‘I feel a lot of pride and a sense of identity. There is so much reward when volunteering. It is full of rich encounters that leave you with so much gratitude when spending time with each individual you meet. Sometimes it is simply the company that patients are looking for. Someone to listen to them. It gives you a chance to discover new parts of yourself that you may never thought you were capable of doing. I would recommend to anyone unsure whether to volunteer, to just give it a go.’
If you could spare some time to support local hospice care by volunteering, you can get in touch by:
•Visiting the website: www.blythehousehospice.org.uk/volunteer-for-us
•Email: volunteering @blythehouse.co.uk