Volunteers’ Week, 1 – 7 June
Three big cheers for our hospice volunteers!
What better time than national Volunteers’ Week to shine a light on the local heroes who so generously give our charity their time and skills for free? Together with our staff, our volunteers help make our community a kinder place for people with terminal illness or experiencing bereavement.
While we’re proud of them all year round, this week is a special celebration of these big-hearted individuals. After all, as a charity we simply couldn’t do as much as we do, as well as we do it, without the vital contribution they make.
Paul ‘Monkey’ Wade brims over with enthusiasm talking about volunteering as part of our Events team for the past eight years. A familiar face at Tour de Moor, Midnight Walk and Men’s Day Out, Paul loves being in the great outdoors, whether it’s marshalling or putting up the signs along the route, to help keeping everything running smoothly. Paul, from Kings Tamerton, said: “If I volunteered at every St Luke’s event for the rest of my life, I still couldn’t repay all the kindness given when the hospice cared for my beautiful mum, Caroline, before she died.”
For many of our charity shop customers – particularly those who’ve been bereaved or are feeling isolated – our stores are a place where they find compassion as well as quality bargains. Likewise, gaining a sense of connection appeals to our volunteers, too. It’s what inspired Eleanor Richardson to get involved, first on reception at Turnchapel and now a day a week at our Shabby Chic charity shop on the Barbican, where we sell vintage treasure.
Eleanor, who lives in Oreston, arrived in Plymouth after spending most of her life in South Africa. She said: “Living alone and adapting to life in a new country felt daunting, so being welcomed into the St Luke’s family was just what I needed. Becoming a volunteer is such a great way of meeting people as well as contributing to something really worthwhile. I love serving our customers and can honestly say I get far more from volunteering than I give.”
For John Horwell of Down Thomas, helping to keep our Turnchapel grounds neat and tidy as part of our maintenance team is his way of thanking us for caring so well for his beloved wife Margaret before sadly, she died. John said: “It comforts me to be giving something back. When I see families arriving, my heart goes out to them because I relate to what they are going through, but I know that with St Luke’s they are in the very best of hands.”
Kindness is powerful, especially for people who are terminally ill or grieving, so we are hugely grateful to our warm-hearted befrienders and bereavement support volunteers, too.
Mary Burroughs, who lives in Yelverton, spent all her working life in senior administrative roles in healthcare organisations, including Guy’s Hospital in London and University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. As a volunteer with us, she gives an hour a week to listen to and support people whose loved one was looked after by St Luke’s.
She said: “You might assume listening to people who are grieving is depressing, but I don’t see it like that at all. Of course, there’s sadness because someone they love has died, but I regard it as an honour that they share their story with me and can be open about how they’re feeling.
“It’s all part of them gradually coming to terms with their loss and adapting to a new way of being. When someone says I’ve made a difference to them, it really touches my heart.”
Volunteering with us could turn out to be the most rewarding role you’ve ever had! If you can spare a few hours a week as part of our friendly team, we’ll support you every step of the way.
Find out more | Volunteer with St Luke’s