Patrons: Bill Beaumont, Mark Lawrenson & Tisha Merry Reg Charity No: 512186

#GiveTime campaign: Shop volunteer Matthew boosts his confidence and people skills

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.

Matthew Stretch, who has been a dedicated volunteer at St Catherine’s Hospice’s Leyland charity shop for two years, says: “Volunteering is a great way to find out more about yourself and what you’re capable of – I really recommend it.”

The 17-year-old, who is studying for a BTEC in Business at Runshaw College, lends a hand serving customers, as well as sorting furniture stock and helping load the furniture delivery van.

He originally got involved to complement his Duke of Edinburgh programme, but has continued to support St Catherine’s after discovering how much he enjoys the role.

“I wanted to come out of my shy shell, extend my CV, and become more employable,” he explains. “I also really enjoy meeting new people and developing my personable skills and work experience.”

Matthew, who lives in Leyland, volunteers every Friday from 10am until 1pm, as well as occasional extra days or hours as required.

“I find it easy fitting volunteering around college and everything else,” he says. “Some of my friends have asked why I use my ‘time off’ to volunteer; I tell them I really enjoy it and I’d recommend it to anyone.

“It’s a great way to meet lots of new people, and you find things out about yourself which you didn’t know you could do. It’s also nice to know that you’re supporting a local charity, so I’d say to anyone considering volunteering to just go for it!”

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!”