There are many volunteers in hospices around the country. Here are some of their stories:
Catriona, a 15-year-old taking her Duke of Edinburgh award
Sarah, who volunteered after losing a young relative
Sara, a student doing research to improve fundraising
Mohamud, an accounts student getting practical experience while he studies.
Catriona started volunteering at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Glasgow, as part of her Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award. She volunteers in the fundraising department, helping out with designing flyers, getting competition prizes and getting free advertising for the hospice.
"The hospice is a place that is bursting with life and aims to let patients live life to the full in what time they have left. Here, the focus is not about dying but about life and all the opportunities within it." Catriona, 15 (second from right)
The fundraising department was the part of the hospice that best suited her availability. She is at school so goes in once a week for an hour.
Catriona says she was very nervous about going to the hospice for the first time. She wasn't sure that she would like it and thought that she would be too scared. She had seen images on TV of hospices and was really worried about it. However, when she got there she was given a tour around and immediately felt comfortable there.
She says that the staff have all been wonderful and that the hospice is bright and welcoming.
Catriona finished her Bronze award and is starting her Silver, but says that even if she had decided not to carry on with Duke of Edinburgh she would have stayed on at the hospice as she is enjoying it so much. She thinks that it has been really good work experience for her too. She also likes securing prizes and donations for the hospice, as she feels she is making a real difference to them.
Sarah started volunteering at Garden House Hospice, Letchworth, after losing her 20-year-old nephew in a car crash. She made a new year's resolution to make a difference and to start volunteering.
After an induction course, Sarah began volunteering on the hospice’s reception, where she helps to look after relatives, carers and patients' visitors. She acts as a shoulder to cry on or just a friendly face to guide them around the hospice.
Sarah feels that because she has lost someone she is able to relate to the experiences and grief of the people she meets at the hospice.
She is married with two young children. She volunteers for a few hours once a month and finds it fits into her life easily.
Sara, a student at Royal Holloway University, found out about Harlington Hospice Association while looking into careers in Public Relations. (This hospice is listed on the Institute of Public Relations website.)
Sara did a piece of independent research looking at the contact between the hospice and past donors, to find out whether past donors were satisfied with the level of contact between themselves and the hospice and also to suggest areas for improvement in the future.
Sara volunteers one day a week.
Mohamud, a second year accounts student, has been volunteering for Harlington Hospice Association in the finance department. He wanted to have practical working experience outside the classroom.
Mohamud is now also involved in the hospice’s ethnic minority project with the Somali community, and works two days a week.