Jane has been an Events Volunteer for Priscilla Bacon Hospice since 2018. She organises her own events at a local gym; including quizzes, fashion shows and table-top sales. She also assists at events organised by the charity.
On average Jane spends 15 hours a month volunteering. As she organises events on specific dates, she knows she can allocate time to work towards them. This gives her flexibility to plan round her other work and voluntary commitments with Keeping Abreast.
“Priscilla Bacon Hospice became a charity very close to my heart after my father, George Reid, died at Priscilla Bacon Lodge. The level of care and compassion he received was exceptional and it meant he fulfilled his wishes to spend his final days at The Lodge. Living in Drayton meant it was easy for me to get more and more involved after the Hospice charity shop opened there. I enjoy meeting people, knowing that I am making a difference by spreading the awareness of the charity and making money for such a great cause.”
Rachel began volunteering after retiring from 40 years working in hospitality. For 28 of those years, she owned an Italian restaurant with her husband Andy. In 2010, Andy was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he passed away in Priscilla Bacon Lodge in March 2014. Rachel was offered bereavement counselling at the Lodge, which she says helped her so much and it was during those weeks she expressed her wish to be a volunteer there. A year later, she became just that.
“It has been the happiest, most rewarding thing I have ever done. I love seeing our patients, making them welcome and comfortable. We do activities, I love baking with them, we serve lunch, I listen to them. My experience helps me to be empathetic.”
Rachel’s amazing efforts don’t stop there because in 2017, she learnt about the plans to build a new hospice and the need to raise funds and awareness for the campaign. She took on the challenge of placing collection tins around central Norfolk and has placed over 200 so far, in a wide variety of locations.
“As an Ambassador I often give talks to different groups of people to help increase awareness of the charity and encourage people to donate to the new hospice appeal. As a Collector, I stand outside supermarkets or garden centres to raise money and awareness for the charity. I also coordinate all the other Collectors, speaking to them in advance and meeting them at the venue.”
Clive often volunteers with his wife Alexandra. The number of hours varies from month to month, depending on the tasks he is involved in, but generally around 10-25 a month. He and Alexandra were incredibly proud when they were invited to Buckingham Palace in 2018, to attend one of the Queen’s Garden Parties in honour of their voluntary work.
“The reason I got involved with volunteering for Priscilla Bacon Hospice is that my wife, who is a retired Registered Nurse, spent the final years of her career as a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse. During these years I learnt of the incredible work that takes place, and how the care does not just focus on the patient, but supports the whole family. I knew my wife was able to make a positive difference to people’s lives, so I wanted to help make a difference too. Building a new hospice in Norwich for the people of Norfolk seemed the obvious choice.”
Aside from the knowing he is making a difference, Clive loves meeting and chatting to new people, hearing about the difference Priscilla Bacon Lodge has made to their loved ones, and also eating cake at events!
Clive has many other hobbies, and schedules volunteering around his golf, parochial church council and family commitments. He summed up volunteering as “An amazing way of spending a few free hours, knowing that what you are doing is going to make an incredible difference and help to build the hospice Norfolk desperately needs. I would recommend anyone interested should give it a go!”
Angela joined us when our North Walsham shop opened in April 2018. She sorts donations ready for sale, works on the till and dresses windows. Angela volunteers 7 hours per week and started after retiring from full time work. She wanted to do something for a good cause, that involved interacting with the public and fitted in with looking after her elderly mother.
A few months after she started, Angela took on the paid role of Key Holder/Shop Cover Assistant, meaning she can manage a shop when holiday or sickness cover is needed. She does this around 2 days per month and enjoys working with different volunteers and swapping ideas.
“I have made many new friends and we have a great team spirit, which I particularly enjoy. We also have a shop where the standards of display and presentation are much higher than ‘charity shop’ expectations – customers regularly praise the way the shop looks. I enjoy chatting to people, making them welcome and helping them with their choices.
I love clothes and fashion, (both vintage and current trends, and creating a particular look), so I like to put to this to good use. I also love having ‘a good old sort out’ of other peoples unwanted goods and recycling them – it’s very therapeutic! It is also pleasing to see customers go out of the shop happy with their purchases.”
I would thoroughly recommend volunteering. If you have time to spare, just go into your local shop and offer your services, however great or small. You will not be judged by how much time you can give – every little helps and it is such a rewarding experience. Who knows, it may lead to greater things – it did for me! You create new friendships, learn new skills and above all, support a very worthwhile cause that touches so many families.”