This week is Volunteers’ Week, which is a great opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity and gives us a chance to say thank you to our amazing volunteers for their fantastic contribution. Here at St Ann’s Hospice we are supported by over 700 amazing volunteers.
Our youngest volunteers are our 16 year old students, many of who are hoping to pursue a career in medicine. Shortly after they start their A-Levels, the schools and colleges talk avidly about gaining experience in their chosen career fields. Medicine is a competitive course, not only are students expected to gain A’s in their chosen A-Level subjects, but they are also expected to have volunteering experience in a medical setting.
Here at the hospice, we have over 70 volunteers who are studying ready to apply for a degree in Medicine. The majority of these volunteer support us on the wards, giving out refreshments and gaining confidence by talking to our patients and absorbing their experiences in a clinical setting. Most students stay for between 12-18 months, finishing just before they embark on their Medical degrees.
Then we have our oldest volunteer, our 92 year old flower arranger who has been with us just over five years. An active part of our team who brings with her a world of experiences to talk to our patients about. Coming in on a Monday morning, getting a lift with her niece who volunteers in the Coffee Shop, her floral arrangements cheer our patients up.
About 30% of our volunteers are aged between 20-60 and offer their time outside of work, many with personal reasons for wanting to give their time back to St Ann’s. Then comes our biggest group of volunteers, our retirees, who equate for over half the volunteer workforce. With more time to spare and a sense of wanting to support their local community. With many life skills to offer, our retirees are an essential part of the team.
So be it a 16 year old just starting out, or our retirees sharing their spare time, we appreciate all volunteers and thank each and every one for the dedication, commitment and support.