‘Volunteers Week’ is an annual celebration of the massive contribution volunteers make to the multitude of organisations doing good works in all of our communities.
It’s run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) which champions the voluntary sector and volunteering across the UK.
Our Wirral Hospice St John’s volunteers add so much to the life of the hospice but, as with many organisations, the coronavirus crisis has meant that the overwhelming majority of ours, some 500 of them, have been asked to stay at home until conditions prevail which will allow them to return to us.
To say we miss them is an understatement. We miss them like crazy!
In normal times they are simply ‘here’ for us, at the hospice and in our Wirral Community. They’re part of the hospice family, They are, very often in fact, the ‘face’ of the hospice.
- At main, outpatients and fundraising receptions they get people to where they want to go physically or by telephone. You’ll always be greeted with a friendly ‘hello, how can I help you’.
- Inpatient ward general duties volunteers bring patients their drinks and often stop for a friendly chat or even help patients to share their stories. In our Wellbeing Centre volunteers will also make patients a nice drink, engage them in enriching and fun activities, facilitate group chats and be ‘on hand’ to alert our nursing staff if there’s a clinical need.
- At fundraising events there are always volunteers to direct our supporters to help them sign in, to buy cakes and refreshments and to sell raffle and tombola tickets and the like.
- Out in the community there are some 150 volunteers who work shifts in our charity shops or at the hospice gift shop (in the run up to Christmas) to advise customers, sort out donated stock, dress windows and serve. Others help our retail team by assessing and preparing those donated items which are potentially more valuable for ebay.
- Our volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, counting all the pennies that come in from collection boxes sited all over Wirral, helping in accounts, tending to the hospice gardens, collecting lottery cash and even holding their own community fundraising gatherings.
Every single one of them is an inspiration and they choose to volunteer for many and varied reasons. Some young people like to bolster their CV and gain work experience, others, often older, retired and greatly experienced, have lived in Wirral for years and know the work of the hospice and many have also had their own personal experience of the hospice’s caring services, through spouses, family and friends.
What is also true is that they’ve always got their hands in their pockets. Not in the ‘standing around’ sense, but in their generous support of the hospice with their own money. They’re incredible people.
From time to time we’ve shared stories from some of our vigorous, vibrant, valuable, versatile and (often) vivacious volunteers and we’ve linked you to some of them again to recall all of their great work.
If you click on their name below it will take you to their story so, in no particular order,
Wendie Darlington: Will do whatever’s needed for Wirral Hospice St John’s
Norma Edwards: Radiating positive energy in our Wellbeing Centre
Liz Munro: Our gently effective fundraising volunteer, ‘par excellence’
Bill Collins: 30+ years an inpatients ward volunteer and regular ‘Light up a Life’ poet
Ann Dermody: At the heart of the community at our Liscard charity shop
Susan Seed: Hospice friend, supporter and volunteer, since day one!
Niamh McEvoy: A young volunteer who ‘goes for it’ in our Moreton charity shop
Geoff Shannon: A charismatic former telescope engineer in our Wellbeing Centre
Marianne Sunter: Retired chemistry teacher who reacts brilliantly to any situation
Colin Middlebrough: A volunteer we can all count on
We hope you enjoy their stories as much as we value their, and all of our other vivid volunteers, precious time and excellent company.
Here’s a list of all the ‘V‘ words you can put in front of the word ‘volunteer’ to reinforce their priceless contributions.
Valiant – showing courage and determination
Valuable – extremely useful and important, worth a great deal
Valorous – great courage in the face of danger
Va Va Voom – exciting, vigorous and attractive
Varied – a number of different types or elements
Vaunted – praised or boasted about
Vaulting – prepared to jump over obstacles
Venerable – accorded a great deal of respect especially because of age, wisdom or character
Veracious – speaking or representing the truth
Versatile – able to adapt or be adapted to many functions or activities
Versed – experienced or skilled in: Knowledgeable about
Vivid – intensely bright, lively and vigorous
Vigilant – keeping careful watch for dangers or difficulties
Vibrant – full of energy and life
VIP’s – very important people
Vigorous – strong, healthy and full of life
Vim – Energy and enthusiasm
Virtuous – having or showing high moral standards
Vital – absolutely necessary, essential
Vivacious – attractively lively and animated
Vocal – expressing opinions freely (or loudly)
Vroom – the idea of speed or acceleration
It’s safe to say, Wirral Hospice St John’s VIP volunteers bring a veracious, vital value and variety, to all that we do. Verily!
Author: Billy Howard