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How volunteering for a hospice can help you support people in need, meet new people and have fun

PUBLISHED: 15:05 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 04 June 2020

There is more to volunteering than meets the eye. James Cook shares his story. Image: Getty Images

There is more to volunteering than meets the eye. James Cook shares his story. Image: Getty Images

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Sparing just a couple of hours a week to help at your local hospice is incredibly rewarding; you’re supporting a cause that helps people facing the end of their lives. But there’s more to volunteering than meets the eye.

There are a wide variety of volunteering roles available within a hospice. Image: Saint Francis HospiceThere are a wide variety of volunteering roles available within a hospice. Image: Saint Francis Hospice

James Cook, a young videographer, volunteers his spare time to Saint Francis Hospice in Romford. We spoke to him to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to volunteer at a hospice and why he recommends other people follow his lead.

What does volunteering for a hospice entail?

Contrary to popular belief, there are a wide variety of volunteering roles available to suit different people with different skill sets.

“Personally, I work on video content projects and various digital campaigns,” James says.

“I’ve helped with lots of projects, shooting and editing video content to drive recruitment, promote fundraising events, and showcase the work of ‘Hospice at Home’ as they look after terminally ill people in their homes. My role is incredibly varied and interesting.”

Volunteering for a hospice is all about putting your skills to good use to help keep it up and running. Whether you have a particular skill that you think would be of use, or simply want to lend a helping hand in any way you can, there’s plenty to get involved in.

The types of volunteering roles available

The list of roles available at a hospice is endless, and if you find that there’s no vacancies at your local hospice that suit you, there are always other ways to donate your time.

A few examples of roles and responsibilities at a hospice include:

- Photographer – not unlike James’ role, this could include shooting and editing photos for marketing purposes and working alongside others to establish and run marketing campaigns.

Volunteering can be fitted in easily around your other commitments. Image: Saint Francis HospiceVolunteering can be fitted in easily around your other commitments. Image: Saint Francis Hospice

- Gardening – this would involve an array of gardening maintenance jobs to help look after the hospice gardens.

- Fundraising event helper – taking part in a variety of fundraising events and activities to help ensure they are successful.

- Retail – the hospice stores help raise funds to support the work they do. This role would include responsibilities such as organising donations, window dressing and merchandising.

How can I fit volunteering around my work and social life?

When you volunteer is completely down to you and can be fitted in easily around other commitments.

“As well as my role at Saint Francis Hospice, I also work on my own projects and spend time socialising with friends and family,” James explains.

“My hours are very flexible – I let the hospice know when I’m not working and have some free time, and it goes from there.”

Whether you work full-time, part-time or not at all if you’re interested in a role, it is possible to volunteer certain hours and times, or work on a more flexible, ‘as-and-when’ basis like James - whatever works for you.

Why should people consider volunteering in their spare time?

“If you’ve got the time, go for it – it’s incredibly rewarding,” James says.

“It’s amazing to see the impact of my videos and to provide a platform for the Hospice to showcase the happy moments and the incredible work they do.”

Dedicating some of your time to a hospice will not only help to support terminally ill people, but through this, there’s an opportunity to develop a skill, learn new things and grow as a person.

“Helping the Hospice has not only allowed me to put my talents to good use, but I’ve also learnt vital people skills that will help me to progress in my career and life outside of the Hospice.”

“There are so many young people in the East London and Essex area that could benefit from volunteering some of their time. It’s a great experience and an opportunity to showcase your skills, boost a CV or build up a portfolio.”

How to volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice

The Hospice have roles in a range of departments – check out the current volunteering vacancies for more information.

If you can’t find a role that suits you, but you’re still interested in joining the team, outline your interests and skills, and availability in the contact form on the volunteering page, or reach out to their Volunteer Services Hub at volunteering@sfh.org.uk or call 01708 758614.

For more on volunteering for the hospice read ‘6 reasons you should volunteer for Saint Francis Hospice’.


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