Hospice to mark Volunteers’ Week

As part of Volunteers’ Week 2021 St Elizabeth Hospice is thanking all its volunteers for their support, while also calling on the community to consider volunteering for the hospice in order to help the independent Suffolk charity continue its vital work throughout the county.

Every year more than 3,000 people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, and their families, are supported throughout east Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney by the free specialist palliative care provision of St Elizabeth Hospice.

This care is made possible by all the hospice staff but also by more than 1,500 volunteers who generously give their time to support St Elizabeth Hospice. These volunteers provide their help in many ways, including working in one of its 31 retail shops, such as Holywells Retail Centre and Heath Road, Ipswich, through to volunteering on the hospice inpatient unit.

Now in its 37th year, Volunteers’ Week takes place annually between 1st-7th June, providing an opportunity for all organisations to recognise the contribution volunteers make to their services and communities across the UK.

To mark Volunteers’ Week 2021, St Elizabeth Hospice is sharing the stories of a number of its volunteers, across its website and social media channels throughout the awareness week, while also asking the community to consider how they too could support the hospice or its young adult service, Zest.

Jemma Wood, Volunteer Development Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity for the hospice to say ‘thank you’ to the support we receive from our team of volunteers, as without them the hospice would not be the same.

“They are all a part of the St Elizabeth Hospice family and help us ensure we are able to continue supporting patients and their families in the local community who need our care during very difficult times in their lives.

“As part of Volunteers’ Week 2021 we are encouraging everyone in the community to think how they too could support the hospice. There are many ways you can volunteer and any amount of time you are able to offer makes a huge difference, so please do get in touch to find out more.”

Volunteering sees hospice supporters donate any amount of time they are able to do so, while also providing the opportunity to learn new skills, which can be used in other areas of their lives, and the chance to make new friends.

One St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer is Sue Sutherland. Living in Freston, Suffolk, Sue has an interest in websites and manages a website for her local sailing club. Through her work in the information department at Ipswich Hospital she was aware of St Elizabeth Hospice and the services it provides patients and their families.

After supporting the hospice for a number of years and following her retirement, she was pleased to find a volunteering opportunity which enabled her to help the hospice while also using her skills and passion for websites.

“There is no such thing as a typical day volunteering, but my role sees me help with any administrative task that is needed and also help to run projects, particularly IT projects, for the volunteer office,” she said.

“I think there is a place for everyone in volunteering, we all have different skills and knowledge that can help support good causes in our local area. You learn new skills, make new friends and for some people, volunteering gives structure to their day. You get out what you put in.”

While 15-year-old Roma Manteiga-Nicholson, who began volunteering at the Zest shop in Ipswich in 2020, added: “Every day is different but I always start my shift at Zest with a smile and end it with an even bigger smile as it’s so rewarding. It’s just a great experience and a great place to meet people, learn some new skills and boost your confidence.

“The team are all very supportive and make sure every shift is fun. Having these experiences with Zest, while at the same time supporting a service which brings so much comfort and respite to families and patients, is very humbling and special to be a part of.”

To learn more about volunteering opportunities at Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice call 01473 707939, email volunteer@stelizabethhospice.org.uk or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.

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