Ashgate Hospicecare's plea for more North Derbyshire residents to become charity volunteers
Ashgate Hospicecare has issued an appeal urging more North Derbyshire residents to volunteer in its shops and coffee shops – as current charity workers speak of ‘huge benefits’.
Following the reopening of its charity shops after the latest lockdown, Ashgate now needs more people to volunteer to help run its retail and coffee stores.
Volunteers are needed to serve customers at the coffee shops in Shirebrook and Clowne, while Ashgate hopes to recruit others to lend a hand processing donations at its Chesterfield donation centre in Hasland.
While the voluntary roles give people the benefit of work experience and socialising, residents choosing to give up their time also helps fund the hospice’s palliative and end-of-life care services for patients and families.
Stella Lock, who works as a retail assistant at Ashgate’s shop in Alfreton, said volunteering helped ‘changed her life’ after she retired.
She said: “I feel very proud to be part of the Ashgate Hospicecare team and I’m very proud to tell people I volunteer for the hospice too.
“Volunteering here really has changed my life in so many ways.
"I became more withdrawn following my retirement but being a volunteer has made me much more confident as a person.
“It’s become something that not only I enjoy doing but it’s really helped me grow as a person since I started, I’d recommend to everyone who has a spare few hours to do it!”
“I’ve found that a lot of people who come into the shop are quite lonely.
"I enjoy talking to them and they really benefit from that conversation.”
Tom Lee started volunteering at the charity’s donation centre three years ago and has now become an ‘integral team player’.
The 22-year-old who has Asperger’s and epilepsy, was initially apprehensive about joining the team but quickly settled in and now volunteers at the centre up to three times a week, often working alongside his friend Mark.
Tom added: “I really enjoy volunteering in Ashgate’s Donation Centre – they are so welcoming to people like me who have disabilities.
“Everyone is so nice to be around and work with; I feel I can talk with everyone there.
"They all look after me and are very kind.
“My favourite thing about volunteering since joining the team at Ashgate has been getting the chance to socialise with other people.”
Ashgate currently has more than 600 volunteers who do everything from maintaining the hospice’s garden to greeting visitors as they arrive and the charity estimates the value of volunteers giving up their time equates to more than £500,000 per year.
Volunteer development manager Joanne Neill praised Ashgate’s volunteers for their hard work.
“Our volunteers are so special to us; each and every one plays such an integral part in helping us provide vital care to the families across North Derbyshire”, she commented.
“They have been part of the fabric of Ashgate for over 30 years and bring something unique and special to teams across the hospice.
“Volunteering with Ashgate Hospicecare can be very rewarding and is a fantastic way to meet new people whilst giving something back to your local community.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the charity, can find out more at www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/volunteer.