The vital role of volunteers

Ann Archer, left, with a customer in the Northgate hospice shop
Ann Archer, left, with a customer in the Northgate hospice shop

AN army of volunteers were today praised for the vital work they do for a hospice.

From making cuppas to helping with the laundry. The team of supporters working for Hartlepool and District Hospice are the people who provide services which were today hailed as having that personal touch on which the organisation prides itself.

Georgina McAleavey (right) with hospice events and community facilitator Janice Forbes

Georgina McAleavey (right) with hospice events and community facilitator Janice Forbes

Francis McAllister, Director of Fundraising at the Hospice, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for their passion and commitment. They are vital members of our team and help us to provide an invaluable service to the local community.”

Every service provided at the hospice is free, and includes a 10-bed inpatient unit, day hospice respite care, complementary therapies, a hospice bereavement service, a 24-hour helpline, lymphoedema services and a heart failure clinic.

Volunteers are involved in all aspects of hospice life, including working in the day hospice and inpatient unit where they could be delivering meals to rooms, making tea and coffee, helping with the laundry, or being there as support for patients and family.

Hilda Elvin has been a volunteer for over 21 years, first as a cleaner and then in the laundry.

Shirley Demetriou in the hospice laundry

Shirley Demetriou in the hospice laundry

She said: “I love it here, everyone is lovely to work with, and I feel as though I am helping people.”

Fellow volunteer Shirley Demetriou said, “Cancer touches almost everyone in some way, and it’s great to be able to help.”

Volunteer support is also vital in the fundraising department, where their work includes delivering posters, selling calendars or picking up and delivering collection boxes.

They also help at hospice events by organising registration, manning tombolas, handing out information, and taking collection buckets around.

Georgina McAleavey, who volunteers for the fundraising team, said: “I have been volunteering for the hospice since March 2011 after gaining my Business Studies & Marketing Degree from Northumbria University in 2010. When I came home after spending some time travelling, I did not have a job and wanted to give something back to the community and gain some valuable work experience for myself.

“My volunteering certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, and I hope it will be helpful in my search for full time employment.”

The volunteer workers also help in charity shops and the warehouse.

Pat Stevenson, a volunteer at the Northgate Hospice Shop, said, “You never know when you will need the hospice. This is an opportunity to give something back.”

Fellow Northgate shop volunteer Ann Archer said: “I really believe in the hospice and the work that they do. I love coming into work, I know all the customers by name, there is some great patter and the shop has a lovely atmosphere.”

Becoming a volunteer can also give people a chance to train and develop new skills.

Anyone wanting to find out more should contact 01429 855555.