Hospice hopes celebration will inspire more folk to volunteer

ST WILFRID’S Hospice is hoping local people will be inspired to sign up as volunteers after a nationwide celebration of those who give up their time free of charge to help others.

Earlier this month the Eastbourne charity joined in with National Volunteers Week, using the occasion to make a fuss of the people who help the 29-year-old hospice keep ticking over.

Since it formed almost three decades ago, St Wilfrid’s has benefited hugely from the support of volunteers in all areas of its work – including helping the hospice’s residents, providing lifts for day patients and manning the charity’s seven fundraising shops.

St Wilfrid’s now boasts 500 volunteers, aged from 16 upwards, but Alex Burrough, who organises the army of helpers, says the charity could always do with more help.

He said, “We’re expanding the work of our shops and will need many more volunteers to support us.

“We couldn’t operate without the support of our local community and our amazing team of volunteers. We can’t thank them enough.”

Among those who already give up their spare time is Simon Sherwood, who explained why he felt compelled to join in.

“I became a volunteer after my mother passed away at St Wilfrid’s Hospice,” he said. “All the staff and volunteers showed such love and affection towards her. I felt the least I can do was to give a little to help keep this wonderful charity doing what it does best.

“I volunteer on the St Wilfrid’s van collecting donations, delivering furniture and distributing stock between the shops. The other volunteers are a great bunch – we have a few laughs and get on really well. I enjoy being with a varied age group and knowing that we’re all working together for a brilliant cause.”

Equally enthusiastic was Graham Bird. He said, “A friend recommended I get involved in volunteering initially, as I like to be busy. At the hospice shop in Polegate I enjoy meeting people and getting to know customers and other volunteers. It gives me satisfaction knowing I’m doing my bit for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, and it keeps me busy sorting donations and making sure the shop is fully stocked. We have a laugh and a giggle as we go.

“As a volunteer for St Wilfrid’s Hospice every day is different and brings a new challenge.”

Later this year the hospice will launch a volunteer recruitment drive as it gets ready to move into its new site on Broadwater Way and is particular keen to hear from any greenfingered locals who can help with the gardens.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the hospice you can find out more on its website at www.stwhospice.org or by calling 01323 637845.