Why I Volunteer
by Caroline Brace
I started to volunteer with odd deliveries of the Newsletter and moved on to helping in the Lymington shop. This is interesting and enjoyable and raises valuable funds for the Hospice. However, as a people person rather than a business person, I am probably better suited to my present role as a receptionist in the In-Patient Unit and in the Day Hospice., which I thoroughly enjoy.
I have become aware of the great breadth and depth of care now provided for in-patients, day hospice patients, hospice at home care, outreach chemotherapy, neighbour care and bereavement support. In addition there is physiotherapy, complimentary therapy and counselling.
Compassion and practical help spreads throughout all Hospice activities. This has now been extended to the Coates Centre, which provides a valuable resource to help all suffering or looking after someone who has their life impacted by illness.
Volunteering at Oakhaven enables us to make a difference, whether as gardeners, making a beautiful and peaceful environment or as caterers providing refreshment and comfort to our visitors. Our drivers transport Day Hospice patients enabling many to enjoy a supportive and companionable day each week, and their carers to enjoy a little respite time. I see how much our patients enjoy the company of their drivers on their journey. The role of ward volunteer is of course sensitive and caring and does perhaps require a greater degree of fitness, as the rooms spread out along the corridor of the in-patient unit. It is a very rewarding area in which to work.
Those who do reception and administration work can see the benefits of their work and have the opportunity to liaise with staff and patients as well as other volunteers. The volunteers are a great group of people and a pleasure to work with. There is no obligation to commit to set days each week; if volunteers are happy to fill their role on a regular basis, all well and good. However, some volunteers fit in every other week or indeed fill in gaps that come up on the rota. Emails are sent out with the rota and phone calls are made if gaps need filling at the last minute. Having flexibility is one of the advantages of being a volunteer!
Volunteering at Oakhaven is both a pleasure and a privilege. An induction session will provide an insight into life at Oakhaven and enable volunteers to find a role. Support and help of volunteers already in post is very valuable. The benefits of the Hospice and all the services it provides are immense and I believe that any help that can be provided on a voluntary basis will enable such work to continue.