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Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas House rely on the support of volunteers and are taking the chance during Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) to reflect on some of the incredible ways people get involved and make a difference.
Both hospices depend on hundreds of volunteers who help in the hospices, in their charity shops, and at fundraising events across the county. Every year, volunteers donate over 100,000 hours of their time adding over £1 million worth of value to the services that St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House provide.
Marie volunteers in the St Barnabas House charity shop in Steyning. She started volunteering on a Saturday afternoon at the shop 25 years ago and has not looked back since. “We had recently moved to the area, so it was a great way of getting to know the local community,” says Marie. “When I gave up work, I then started volunteering during the week, until my grandchildren came along, and I had a little gap to spend more time with them!
“Sadly, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and passed away four years later. I soon felt able to volunteer more, and joined the Steyning and Ashurst Friends group, along with volunteering at the shop during the week.
“Volunteering was a lifesaver after my husband had passed away. I have made so many friends and I have enjoyed every minute of it!”
Brenda has been a volunteering at Chestnut Tree House for over 20 years. “I have always enjoyed my volunteering, and it is such an important part of my life,” says Brenda. “Volunteering in reception, you get to know the children, their parents, and siblings as they come into the hospice. I love seeing them grow and hearing about what is happening in their lives.
It can be busy, but I’ve met so many different people who play different roles at Chestnut Tree House. I feel I am part of a large family!”
Explaining the importance of volunteers to St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House, Mark Francis, Head of Voluntary Services said: “There is no greater gift someone can give to another person than time. Every day we have is precious and that so many volunteers choose to make the gift of using their time helping others through our volunteering opportunities is something that we cherish at the hospices.
“The last year has been a difficult time for everyone and we have really missed being able to see all our volunteers and work with them as we usually would. I hope that Marie, Brenda, and every volunteer, knows how much we value their commitment to the work we do together, helping people every day. We hope we can see all our volunteers again soon.”