What our volunteers mean to us

This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week, a chance for us to recognise the fantastic contribution that our volunteers make to our community and say thank you. To mark the week, we caught up with Sophie, our Senior Fundraising and Volunteer Manager, to hear more about the contributions our wonderful volunteers are making throughout our community every single day.

Our volunteers are truly at the heart of our hospice. Their dedication and kindness is vital to helping people in our community to live well for longer. Whether they’re supporting us in the Inpatient Unit, being a welcoming face on the reception desk or supporting us at events or in the charity shop, they play such an important role in allowing us to create more moments of joy for our patients and their loved ones, every single day.

Each and every one of our over 150 volunteers is a valued member of the team here at St John’s and they each bring their own individual spark of magic to their role.

I’ve now looked after the Volunteering Programme for almost 6 years, and I continue to be blown away by their commitment. It’s such an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by so many people who are here simply because they want to help. Our volunteers get involved initially for a range of reasons; some people have personally experienced the care the hospice provides, some want to use their skills for good, and other volunteers find themselves with free time and want to use it to give back to their community.

Some volunteers may come in to help the hospice or charity shop on their only day off in the week, or add an extra volunteering shift if they know we need the help. Our events volunteers are there through heatwaves, pouring rain, and even during ice storms throughout one particular Easter fayre! Whatever the weather, they do it with enthusiasm and we truly couldn’t run these wonderful events without them.

We’ve had hospice volunteers offer to communicate with a patient or their loved ones in a different language when we weren’t able to get a translator immediately. Some volunteers have even gone out of their way to track down a specific newspaper a patient wanted to read or someone’s favourite brand of lime cordial. These special touches are truly appreciated by staff, patients and their loved ones.

Volunteers Appreciation Week is a lovely opportunity for us to say thank you and let our volunteers know just how much they mean to us. We’ve handwritten cards and made fudge for each of them and at the end of the month we are having our Volunteer Appreciation Party.

This year, we have also asked staff and fellow volunteers to send in nominations for volunteers who they think have gone above and beyond in their role. It was so heart-warming to receive so many nominations all saying such beautiful things. We’re going to be announcing the winners at our party later this month.

The commitment, kindness and compassion that our volunteers all bring to St John’s is constantly appreciated and forever cherished. And so, to them all I want to say thank you, truly, for all that you do.

If you’d like to find out more about what it is like to be a volunteer at St John’s and the various roles we have please visit www.stjohnshospice.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer. Alternatively, get in touch with Sophie by calling 020 7806 4049 or by emailing volunteers@hje.org.uk.

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