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.
Here, 17-year-old Ella Makepeace tells how volunteering at the hospice’s onsite café, The Mill, is helping her develop useful communication skills, and is improving her chances of landing her dream job.
“After I’d settled in to college for a few months, I started to think about volunteering in my spare time. I hope to join the police force, and volunteering within the community is a good skill to have – I’m meeting lots of different people and it’s something good to put on my CV.”
Ella, who is studying A-Levels in psychology, law, and English at Cardinal Newman College in Preston, has been volunteering as a café assistant since January, fitting her weekly shift around college, studying, hobbies and socialising. She visited the busy café with her mum for a coffee when she realised she would like to get involved.
“It just seemed such a friendly and welcoming place,” she says. “I looked on the website and filled out an application form, and they invited me in for a trial shift. I was a bit nervous but also excited, and it went really well.
“I serve food and drinks, and help with washing up. I enjoy feeling really included and part of a team; volunteering is also helping to improve my confidence and people skills. I get to meet members of the public, as well as patients from St Catherine’s and their families, so it’s nice to know that I’m helping to make their visit to The Mill a nice experience.”
Ella, from Lower Penwortham, volunteers every Sunday between 10am and 2pm, and also helps out at external events with The Mill Outside when she can spare the time. When she’s not at college or volunteering, Ella enjoys being part of an art group at the Harris Museum in Preston, and spending time with friends.
“Volunteering fits really well around my other commitments,” she says. “The hours are flexible, and you can pick a time which suits you. I look forward to coming to The Mill as it’s so different to everything else I do.
“I also helped out when The Mill Outside catered for the Hero Assault Course fundraising event in Avenham Park, which was really fun. It’s a completely different to the café environment and I’d definitely like to do more events in future.”
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!”