Ashgate Hospicecare’s #30for30 campaign in full swing after January launch

Ashgate Hospicecare is thrilled to announce that its volunteer department has been inundated with applications and inquiries since the launch of their #30for30 campaign in January.

The campaign, which was launched to promote the Hospice’s diverse volunteering opportunities and encourage people to commit to volunteering regularly, aims to encourage people to donate at least 30 hours of their time in 2018 in celebration of Ashgate Hospicecare’s 30th anniversary.

Amy Bannister, aged 17, from New Whittington is one of the Hospice’s youngest volunteers. Amy first came into contact with the Hospice five years ago when her uncle was admitted, and then again in 2013 when her grandad was admitted to the Inpatient Unit, where he sadly died.

Amy said, “I volunteer here because it means a lot to me, but it’s also wonderful to know that when I give my time here I’m helping people and it has the added bonus that others know I’m helping people too.

As a volunteer, you are made to feel like part of the team. You’re not separate to the staff – everybody is as important as each other. Last year, staff and volunteers from all different departments did a Christmas video and they insisted we film it on the day that my friend and I were here volunteering. When they said that, it really made us feel like an integral part of the team. It was hilarious too!

I’m currently doing my A-levels as well as applying for university, so coming here gives me a well-needed break from the pressures at school. I come to the fundraising office for a couple of hours each week. We do lots of different things from sorting through old photographs of the Hospice in preparation for the 30th anniversary, to helping to create boards for events, to preparing Santa’s grotto for the Christmas market! We are trusted to get along with most things by ourselves, but if we are ever unsure about anything, we can just ask someone in the team and they help will always help us. There’s no pressure here like there is at school.

When I come into the Hospice every week, it fills me with a feeling of calm. I’ve got to know lots of different people over the years and everybody always asks how I am and how my family are doing. I feel very well supported by the extra community I’ve found here. Plus, my uncle’s wife and my grandma always tell me that they love the fact that I’m here maintaining that special connection to the Hospice. I know that my grandad would be proud of me too. Moving on next year will be hard, but I know I will keep popping back in to say hello!

I’ve learnt many things through volunteering and developed a lot of the skills I will need in the future, even down to simple things like having the confidence to say hello to somebody I don’t know. I’ve also done presentations about the Hospice at my school to large groups of people. As well as gaining confidence, being here has raised my awareness of the sheer amount of work that goes into running the Hospice and how many people are involved. It amazes me!

To any young person considering volunteering here, I would say, Do it! You’ve got nothing to lose! If you’ve never been to Ashgate Hospicecare before and you’re scared, the moment you walk in, you will realise there’s nothing to fear. You’ll fall in love with the place and then you won’t be able to stop volunteering!”

If you are inspired by Amy’s story, why not take on the #30for30 challenge to set yourself apart from the crowd, learn something new, meet new people and make a real difference? To talk about volunteering or to find the right role for you, please visit http://30for30.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk, contact Jane Briggs, Voluntary Services Manager on 01246 568801 or email volunteering@ashgatehospicecare.org.uk.

Don’t just take our word for it, volunteering has proven to have many benefits for people of all ages, including improvements in physical and mental health, quality of life, positive behaviour change and improved social support and inclusion, together with gaining new skills and improving employment opportunities. For more information, please visit https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/app/uploads/2017/09/Barriers-and-Benefits-1.pdf

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