As part of national Student Volunteering Week, Crawley College student, Rasiatu Turay, 18, shares why she gives up her time to volunteer at St Catherine’s.
“I joined St Catherine’s Hospice as a Hospitality Volunteer in November 2017 and volunteer in the kitchen every Friday morning. I’m originally from Sierra Leone but am currently studying Health and Social Care at Crawley College. When I asked my tutor about local volunteering she mentioned St Catherine’s and told me more about the work the hospice does. I’d never volunteered before but I wanted to get experience and interact with new people so I thought I’d give it a go! After college, I’m hoping to go to university as I want to become a midwife. My Mum is a midwife back in Sierra Leone and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so volunteering here helps me gain experience while I’m studying.
I wash up and tidy the hospice’s kitchen area with another volunteer called Phil. He’s amazing and we always have so much fun! We work well as a team and between us keep everything clean and organised before taking water jugs and the tea and coffee trolley to patients on the wards.
The patients, staff and other volunteers here are amazing.
When I joined I thought I’d be volunteering with other students or young people but most of the team are older than me. I thought maybe we wouldn’t have anything in common but we do! We all get on so well. I had no idea about the hospice or what it would be like before I started and I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’ve been surprised at how genuinely happy everyone is. I thought volunteering here would be really hard and my tutor thought I’d find it hard too, but I don’t.
When I’m at St Catherine’s I feel like it’s home. I feel joyful and everyone around me is joyful too. Being able to meet people and realise that even though they’re going through a bad time they’re still able to laugh and joke has made a positive difference to me.
Before Christmas I met a patient and we started talking about her life and family. She asked me about my life and what I wanted to do too. When I came into volunteer the following week I asked about her and was told that she’d died. I felt sad about that but at the same time pleased that I’d met her and had chance to talk to her. Originally, I was nervous about meeting patients at the end of their life but I’ve proved to myself that it’s ok and I can do it. Volunteering has definitely helped me learn more about myself and given me the chance to express myself to others.
Some students might think a hospice is an unusual place to volunteer but it’s an opportunity to help your career, gives you more confidence, and helps you build relationships with other people. To other students or young people thinking of volunteering with St Catherine’s I’d say take the chance, don’t look for excuses, find your confidence and say yes!
I really enjoy volunteering here. When I leave the hospice on a Friday I’m always so happy. I’m grateful to my college for introducing me to volunteering and to St Catherine’s. I’ll continue to volunteer for as long as I can.”
If you would like to find out more about volunteering please click here or call the Volunteering Team on 01293 447351.