Make it your New Year’s resolution to volunteer for your local hospice

Have you thought about volunteering? After the Christmas break, millions of people across the country are starting the year off with a new resolution to do something good, but don’t know what to do. Ashgate Hospicecare, in Chesterfield, are appealing new volunteers to start in the early months of this year and have a number of different roles across the organisation.

The local hospice, which provides care to patients living with a life-limiting illness and their families through a number of different services, have over 700 volunteers across the organisation. The Hospice relies heavily on volunteers, who make up nearly three quarters of their total workforce, but are always in need of more help.

Matt Corbishley, Director of HR & Support Services, said, “Ashgate Hospicecare simply couldn’t run without our volunteers. They are absolutely vital to all of our teams. We have volunteers across all areas of the Hospice, including in our shops across North Derbyshire, at events, serving patients in our Day Hospice and on the ward, supporting our admin teams, out in the community, fundraising, speaking about the Hospice and in many more roles.

We’re so pleased that more and more people are showing an interest in volunteering for the Hospice and we’re grateful for each and every person who kindly donates their time here. As well as our volunteers playing a vital role in the day to day running of the Hospice and in raising the funds needed to keep the Hospice going, we also like our volunteers to develop their skills throughout their time here. We welcome all applications, so if you are interested and have a few hours a week to spare, please get in touch!”

Louise Gill, a Volunteer Counsellor at Ashgate Hospicecare, started volunteering in 2017 after her husband, David, was cared for by the Hospice. Louise said, “The Hospice made a really bad situation the best it could possibly be. I couldn’t praise it enough. Not just for David, but for me as well. The staff were all fantastic.

“I started volunteering here when I was doing a counselling course and Ashgate Hospicecare was my placement. I saw my first client four years to the day that David died here. That day was very special to me. I was driving over here thinking, come on David, you’ve got to help me through this!

“I’ve since finished the course and have carried on volunteering here, seeing more clients. Going through the course has been emotional for me, but I’ve been very well supported throughout. It’s demanding but I’ve enjoyed it and it’s helped me with my grief. I feel motivated now to help and support others as much as I’ve been helped. I see four clients at the moment at the Hospice but I’m already keen to see more! I absolutely love it.

“I’d say to anybody thinking about volunteering, just try it. Try whatever you think will suit you and don’t be afraid. You’ll be welcomed with open arms. Everybody at the Hospice is kind and warm. The whole of the Supportive Care Team are fantastic.

Coming back to the Hospice for the first time as a volunteer counsellor was the hardest thing for me. I was so nervous and I felt my heart beating out of my chest. But once I took that step, it was amazing. Coming back to the Hospice is not right for everybody who has lost a loved one here, but I know that I’m here because of David and I think he’d be really proud of me.”

Don’t just take our word for it, volunteering has proven to have so many benefits for people of all ages including include improvements in physical and mental health, quality of life, positive behaviour change and improved social support, together with changes in skills, inclusion and employment.

For more information, please visit https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/app/uploads/2017/09/Barriers-and-Benefits-1.pdf

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