With a team of more than 800 dedicated volunteers, St Catherine’s Hospice continues to rely on the amazing support of the community in a range of fun, rewarding and varied roles across the charity.
And with the world of work becoming increasing competitive for school-leavers and college and university graduates, the charity is welcoming more and more teenagers and young adults keen to get involved in volunteering to expand their skills, boost their confidence and gain vital work experience.
Postgraduate Katie Ogden began volunteering on the inpatient unit at St Catherine’s Hospice to help her career – but says the personal satisfaction and enjoyment she gets from the rewarding role is a bonus she wasn’t expecting.
Katie has just completed a biomedical sciences degree at the University of Central Lancashire, and is going on to study for a Masters at medical school.
The 22-year-old, from Euxton, said: “I started volunteering on the hospice’s inpatient unit because I thought it would be good for my CV and would give me an opportunity to get used to speaking with patients and their families.
“I’ve done work experience in GP surgeries, but the hospice is a completely different environment – it’s really broadening my horizons and helping me to appreciate what it’s like to work in palliative care.”
St Catherine’s offers specialist palliative and end-of-life care to people with life-shortening conditions – helping with pain relief and symptom management, as well as the emotional wellbeing of patients and their loved ones through promoting independence and choice.
Volunteers who help with general ward duties are not required to assist with the medical care of patients; they carry out day-to-day tasks such as serving tea and coffee, and topping up the fresh water jugs, whilst also interacting with patients, visitors, staff and other volunteers.
Katie added: “They’re only small jobs, but they make a big impact and the patients and families are all really thankful for what you’re doing. The nursing staff are grateful too and they’re so helpful and friendly. It’s such a calm and jolly environment, everyone is always smiling and the patients and families are always pleased to see you. It’s a nice feeling knowing that you’re making a difference.”
Katie volunteers every Tuesday from 4.30pm until 6.30pm, and also has a Saturday job at a bridal shop. She says the variety of work, volunteering and studying is a good balance, and she found it easy to fit volunteering into her weekly schedule.
“I think people are always going to be nervous about volunteering at first,” she explained. “But it’s definitely worth putting yourself out there and trying something new. It’s not as daunting as you might think.
“I was actually surprised to learn that you could volunteer on the inpatient unit – I knew you could volunteer in the St Catherine’s charity shops but I didn’t realise you could help out in the hospice until my friend told me about it.
“I essentially wanted to get involved to gain more experience, to expand my CV and set me apart as I progress in my career, but I’ve ended up getting so much more out of it on a personal level as well, so I’m really glad I put myself forward.”
Hollie Dring, volunteer coordinator at St Catherine’s Hospice and The Mill, says: “We really can’t thank our volunteers enough for their dedication and support of St Catherine’s – we simply wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
“It’s great to hear that our volunteers find their roles so enjoyable and rewarding – real friendships are formed and we hold celebration and social events for our volunteers, so it really is a great way to meet new people and try something different from your normal routine.
“And as our young volunteers have pointed out, volunteering also offers an opportunity to expand your CV and university application, develop your social skills and work experience, and help improve your chances of landing your dream job by demonstrating your reliability, dependability and commitment to a much-loved local charity.
“We’re looking for more school-leavers, college and university students to join our team of amazing volunteers at St Catherine’s Hospice, The Mill café, and our charity shops. It’s lots of fun and is very flexible, so you can choose a role and shift which suits your personality, interests and ambitions, and fits around your other commitments and leisure time.
“We’d love to hear from anyone aged 16 and above interested in finding out more about joining our wonderful team of volunteers!”