Ashgate Hospicecare is appealing for people to volunteer in their shops and coffee shops – as its current volunteers speak of the huge benefits of helping at the charity this Volunteers Week.
Following the reopening of the Ashgate shops after the recent lockdown, the charity now needs more volunteers to help in its stores across North Derbyshire.
From serving customers at its coffee shops in Shirebrook and Clowne to processing donations at the Donation Centre in Hasland, Chesterfield – there are a range of roles available to suit a variety of skills and interests.
Not only do volunteers benefit from gaining work experience and socialising with different people, but ultimately their efforts help fund vital palliative and end-of-life care services for the patients and families who need it most.
Stella Lock, Retail Assistant at Ashgate’s shop in Alfreton, is among many volunteers to have benefitted hugely from volunteering.
As part of Volunteers Week 2021, which takes place between 1st and 7th June, she tells of how joining the team at Ashgate has ‘changed her life’, helping her ‘grow in confidence’ and make new friends.
Stella said: “I feel very proud to be part of the Ashgate Hospicecare team and I’m very proud to tell people I volunteer for the hospice too.
“Volunteering here really has changed my life in so many ways. I became more withdrawn following my retirement but being a volunteer has made me much more confident as a person.
“It’s become something that not only I enjoy doing but it’s really helped me grow as a person since I started, I’d recommend to everyone who has a spare few hours to do it!”
“I’ve found that a lot of people who come into the shop are quite lonely. I enjoy talking to them and they really benefit from that conversation. It’s more than just being a volunteer; it’s about bringing a smile to people’s faces.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’ve learnt so much since I started – long may it continue!”
Meanwhile, Tom Lee doesn’t let Asperger’s or Epilepsy get in the way of making a difference to people’s lives at Ashgate Hospicecare.
The 22-year-old has become a ‘integral team-player’ at the charity’s Donation Centre in Hasland after starting as a volunteer three years ago.
Despite being apprehensive at first, Tom soon became one of the team and now volunteers at the centre up to three times a week, often working alongside his ‘buddy’ Mark.
He added: “I really enjoy volunteering in Ashgate’s Donation Centre – they are so welcoming to people like me who have disabilities.
“Everyone is so nice to be around and work with; I feel I can talk with everyone there. They all look after me and are very kind.
“My favourite thing about volunteering since joining the team at Ashgate has been getting the chance to socialise with other people.”
Ashgate has more than 600 volunteers who help the charity with everything from keeping the gardens in shape to giving visitors a warm welcome in reception.
The charity estimates that the value of its volunteers giving up their time to support the charity is more than £500,000 per year.
Joanne Neill, Volunteer Development Manager at Ashgate Hospicecare, praised the charity’s volunteers for everything they do.
“Our volunteers are so special to us; each and every one plays such an integral part in helping us provide vital care to the families across North Derbyshire.
“They have been part of the fabric of Ashgate for over 30 years and bring something unique and special to teams across the hospice.
“Volunteering with Ashgate Hospicecare can be very rewarding and is a fantastic way to meet new people whilst giving something back to your local community.
“You can volunteer at one of our coffee shops, in a shop, at a charity event or even on our Inpatient Unit – we’d love for you to come and join us. Head to our website to find out more!”
Anyone who is interested in joining the Ashgate Hospicecare team as a volunteer can find out more at www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/volunteer