As part of national Volunteer Week, an annual event that celebrates volunteers across the UK, St Catherine’s Hospice is shining a light on the significant achievements of their incredible volunteers.
Each year, 840 volunteers, aged between 14 and 97, play an essential part in helping St Catherine’s deliver their services. Coming from across Surrey and Sussex, volunteers take on varied roles from; gardeners and charity shop assistants to ward support, catering and hospitality. Between them, they volunteer more than 50,000 hours a year in 39 different roles.
Amongst them is Peter Beckley, who volunteers in St Catherine’s Crawley shop two afternoons a week. After 20 years working in a chemist shop, he brings a wealth of experience to his volunteering. He said: “I began volunteering after I heard a talk from one of St Catherine’s fundraisers and learnt how volunteering for roughly four hours a week equalled £50 to the hospice. I couldn’t afford to give £50 a week but I could afford to volunteer. St Catherine’s Crawley shop has lovely staff and customers and I really enjoy speaking with them. Volunteering is a brilliant way of getting out and staying in touch, if you’re thinking about volunteering, I’d say just give it a try – I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.”
Thanks to volunteers’ amazing support, St Catherine’s has also been able to expand the care services they offer to patients with eight different complementary therapies provided by qualified voluntary therapists. They gave 1,300 hand massages to patients and carers in the last year alone.
And it’s not just at the hospice building where St Catherine’s volunteers help. They help St Catherine’s provide a personalised and responsive service in the local community ranging from:
• Helping at local, public bereavement groups in Crawley, Oxted and Dorking
• Providing 304 counselling and emotional support sessions to patients and their families at home, at school or at their GP surgeries
• Supporting fundraising activities – Last year, 250 individuals volunteered at fundraising events
• Driving Day Hospice patients – 16 volunteer patient drivers drove more than 42,000 miles –that’s nearly twice the circumference of the Earth!
Joe Brocking is just one of these drivers. He said: “Sometimes, when you pick people up they’re feeling down but getting out lifts them, their day is special and that’s why I do it, I can make someone’s day brighter. Joining the team at St Catherine’s is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s the nicest place and when I walk in the door, there’s always a smile. Volunteering here has made me a better person and if I could choose one last thing to do on this earth, it’d be to drive a patient.”
Katherine Perrin, Volunteer Development Manager at St Catherine’s said: “We’re really lucky to be so well supported by volunteers and we couldn’t provide our range of services without them. By giving their time, they’re some of the biggest donors to our hospice and we want to say a huge thank you to each and every single one of them, because it’s not just their time, its the wealth of experience, the care and kindness, the sense of humour, and the absolute dedication to those we support that really makes all the difference.”
To read about the full impact of St Catherine’s volunteers take a look at our Volunteer Infographic here