In 2015 I approached St Catherine’s Hospice for an interview about their 30th anniversary year and celebrations. I wanted to include an article about the charity in my coursework for my Journalism Studies Degree at UCLan and this seemed like a great story to tell.
After making contact with their communications team and completing my coursework, I offered my time as a volunteer helping out in the department. Since then have regularly spent time working in the office and have also helped out at some of their fundraising events.
My first day volunteering actually fell during national Volunteers’ Week. This is an annual celebration of the outstanding contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK to help support the charity and it felt good to be part of such an inspiring national movement, particularly when I now know how important volunteers are to St Catherine’s – they simply couldn’t do what they do without them.
The following night I attended the Moonlight and Memories Walk. This is an annual event, organised by St Catherine’s Hospice, for people to raise money for the charity in memory of loved ones who have died. I was given the responsibility of taking photos at the event and interviewing participants before the walk. This helped me learn a lot about the hospice and the impact it has on people’s lives. Interviewing people built my confidence a lot and also gave me the opportunity to practice taking notes in shorthand. Almost everyone was in some form of fancy dress and a lot of people were eager to have their photo taken by me. This was an overall pleasant experience as everyone’s spirits were high and people were open to telling me their stories.
In general volunteering in the Communications Department at St Catherine’s Hospice involves creating articles about supporters who have carried out fundraising for the charity to be published on St Catherine’s Hospice’s official website, attending charity events to conduct interviews and take photos, drafting posts about fundraisers and events to be published on social media and assisting with admin duties such as populating events listings and keeping track of media coverage.
All of these skills are key to my progress as a journalist and volunteering in the Communications Department has given me the chance to explore different aspects of journalism in a professional environment.
The Communications Department helps promote St Catherine’s Hospice, the care they provide and the events they organise to raise money. This is crucial for the survival of the charity and is something I am keen to be a part of.