Volunteers who support families benefiting from the services of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) are backing the charity’s new campaign encouraging everyone to make each hour count.
EACH profiles five people who lend their support to 'EACH Hour Counts' campaign
EACH is seeking to add to its pool of over 1,300 volunteers and is in need of people to support its fundraisers, with administration, bucket collections, community speaking and events, shops, with sorting stock, manning the tills and listing items on eBay, hospices, with maintenance and reception tasks, and EACH Help at Home, its service that matches volunteers to families to provide practical support such as cleaning, gardening and painting.
- Teresa Lilley, from Ely, volunteers as part of EACH Help at Home
Teresa (pictured above), a retired primary school teacher, has supported families by carrying out tasks such as cooking, gardening, ironing and painting. She currently helps a family two to three hours a week, tending to do whatever is a priority for the family at the time of her visits.
She said: “Although retired, I do like to keep busy and mostly I do, with grandchildren and older members of my family. I saw an advertisement asking for volunteers, though, and I had a spare day in the week, so thought it a good way to fill my time. Apart from that, it gives me personal satisfaction to know I’m doing something, no matter how small, that’s useful and not just wasting what time I have.
“The families I’ve been fortunate enough to help have been absolutely delightful to be with. They’re very grateful for any help that can be given. I can only say that, up to now, volunteering for EACH has been a positive experience and keeps one's feet firmly on the ground. The families that are given this support are coping, I might add, breathtakingly well with the pressures in their everyday lives and I’ve enjoyed every minute spent with them.
“I had no idea what to expect when I got involved, but I do know everyone and anyone would be able to do this. No special skills are required to do general domestic tasks around the home and you can always say what you’re prepared to do before being introduced to a family. The matches are carefully chosen. You choose your own level of commitment, a regular session each week, once a month or just a one-off visit to help with something particular - whatever you can manage. EACH gives excellent support to its volunteers and I can, honestly, say anyone interested should go for it!”
- Janet Pulham has volunteered at EACH’s Suffolk fundraising office since August 2009
Janet, who was born and has lived all her life in Ipswich, loves office work and so decided to get involved after she retired. She empties collection pots when they are returned to the office, maintaining the necessary records, and makes phone calls to schools and companies to ask for their support, among many other jobs.
Janet does up to seven-and-a-half hours every Thursday and also helps out at EACH fundraising events alongside family members. She has introduced a neighbour to volunteering at an EACH shop, too, and a friend to volunteering as part of the EACH Help at Home scheme.
“After I started volunteering, it soon brought home that not everyone is as lucky as me in having four healthy grandchildren,” said Janet. “I like to think I’m helping other people. In the past I’ve volunteered for British Red Cross and Meals on Wheels for the elderly. If you have a few hours to spare, why not help others?”
- Adrian Cole volunteers as a gardener at The Treehouse, EACH’s Ipswich hospice
Adrian, originally from north London and now of Ipswich, lends a helping hand for four hours every Tuesday morning, ensuring the grounds of The Treehouse are always at their best.
He enjoys the experience as he gets to socialise whilst also supporting the work of EACH, that he admires greatly.
“There are a wide range of activities for volunteers at The Treehouse,” he said. “All are welcome. A mixture of practical knowledge and skills are useful.”
- Sue Donmall has volunteered at EACH’s Poringland shop since it opened in July
She has also been part of the nooks friends group, that fundraises in support of EACH’s nook appeal to raise £10 million for the building of a new Norfolk hospice, for the last three-and-a-half years.
She volunteers at the shop on Wednesday afternoons, serving customers, sorting donations, steaming clothes, dressing mannequins and more.
“Volunteering for EACH is a great opportunity to learn new skills in a variety of roles,” she said. “I enjoy meeting other volunteers and helping customers whilst supporting the charity.”
- Mike Hughes has volunteered at EACH’s Retail Distribution Centre in Thetford around half a year
Mike, from Norwich, spends between four and eight hours a week sorting CDs, DVDs, video games and vinyl.
He has seen a lot of children in desperate situations whilst travelling round the world.
Volunteering for hospices has been part of his life for some 20 years, having helped at others around County Durham and Yorkshire.
He said: “I love it. It’s a wonderful environment here at EACH. The people are lovely and you receive support and appreciation. It’s great finding gems I know are going to make a lot of money and, therefore, help pay for the care of a child.”
Hannah Diaper, EACH Volunteer Services & Development Manager, said: “Each hour counts for the children and families we support, so each hour given by a volunteer is helping making a big difference one way or another.
“We’re keen to recruit a diverse pool of volunteers and we’ve a growing variety of opportunities to get involved with. We'd love to hear from you, whether you can spare an hour a day, a day a week, a couple of hours a month or the occasional helping hand at an event near you.”
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) aims to maximise the quality of life for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, and to support their families.