Hospice says thank you to 200 volunteers

This week is Volunteers’ Week and even though events have been cancelled up and down the country, due to coronavirus, St. Joseph’s Hospice didn’t want to let this week slip by without saying a really big thank you to its incredible team of volunteers.

The hospice has sent a very special thank you card to all its volunteers this week, many of whom are staying safely at home and are really missing their roles at the hospice.

This week, the hospice has also sent long service badges to those volunteers who have reached key milestones. The badges would usually be awarded in person at the hospice’s annual Volunteers’ Evening in July but, sadly, this year’s event has had to be cancelled to protect volunteers and comply with social distancing.

The hospice’s volunteer coordinator, Helen Pattie, has also been busy keeping in touch with volunteers over the last couple of months by sending regular updates and calling them for a friendly chat, particularly those who live alone or are finding the isolation difficult.

In more normal times, volunteers support hospice staff in a wide range of roles both at the hospice, such as gardeners, patient buddies, administrators and ward clerks, as well as out in the community, fundraising and working in its charity shops.

During Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), the hospice will be sharing some very special thank you messages online and on its social media channels.

Diane Donaldson, who has volunteered at the St. Joseph’s Hospice shop in Crosby since 2005 has received her 15 year long service badge. She said: “I originally wanted to help by giving my time just one day a week. I have made good friends with the other volunteers and it has helped me personally to improve my own lifestyle. I am looking forward to going back to the shop after this dreadful virus has been defeated.”

Rob Chalk is a volunteer gardener in the hospice grounds. He said: “When I retired, I really enjoyed doing all the usual retirement activities but, eventually, I realised that I still had plenty of spare time and decided to do some voluntary work. I have always considered gardening to be a pleasure and not a chore and I noted that the hospice didn’t employ anyone to look after the gardens so here I am in what I consider to be my outside gym.

“It’s nice to have the interaction with other volunteers and full time staff and it’s particularly gratifying when residents and their visitors express their thanks for our efforts.”

Mike Parr, Chief Executive of St. Joseph’s Hospice, said: “This has been a really tough time for many of our volunteers. The main reason that many of them volunteer is because the hospice is a very special place to them and brings them great comfort and a real sense of purpose as well as a close network of friends.

“We really value everything our volunteers do for us. They are compassionate, caring and so dedicated to the hospice so we wanted to do something this week to say thank you and let them know that we are thinking of them and miss them greatly.

“We still need more volunteers so, even though they can’t start right away, we are still recruiting and would love to hear from anyone who is interested in finding out about volunteering for the hospice in the future.

To find out more about volunteering for the hospice, please call 0151 932 6043 or email helen.pattie@jospice.org.uk.