What’s it like to volunteer?

Read some of our volunteer stories and discover the benefits of volunteering for charity. Your help as a volunteer is vital to our work. But don’t take just our word for it – here are some of our volunteers’ stories.

Sarah’s story

Since January, we’ve been able to open family swim sessions on Saturday thanks to our volunteer lifeguards. Sarah is one of our new lifeguards, since moving to the area she’s been looking to volunteer with children, and Chestnut had the perfect opportunity for her to find out what the role entails and what she most values about volunteering at Chestnut Tree House:

“I swim a lot and love being in the water, so I’m a water person. Volunteering as a lifeguard at Chestnut Tree House appealed to me straight away.

After my application was accepted, I did my basic lifeguard training. My role is to facilitate children that are cared for by Chestnut Tree House to come in and enjoy the water in the hydrotherapy pool. Many of our families can’t use public swimming pools. This could be for different reasons: perhaps the water is too cold, the noise is too overwhelming, or the risk of infection is too high. Some children and young people need a hoist to enter the water. At Chestnut Swim Club, the children and their families can enjoy special family time together without worrying about any of that.

I have family experience of children’s hospice care, which is one of the reasons I looked at volunteering here. What I would say is, this is a happier place than a lot of people expect. It’s all about creating happiness for the children and for their families. Everyone is always smiling and it’s just a really nice place to be.”

Life vest, pool noodle and other fun inflatables for the pool.

"For me, the best part of my role is seeing the joy that comes with being in the water. The children are just so happy when they get in the pool – siblings as well. Everyone has a smile on their face."

- Sarah, volunteer lifeguard

Mark’s story

If you’ve taken part in any of our mass participation events then you’ll probably recognise Mark – or maybe just his camera! Mark has taken part in many events for us, and volunteered countless times. He’s ran or cheered at the Brighton Marathon for many years in particular. and he’s often seen giving his time and expertise to help us with our event photography

“I had done a few runs for charity already but never really felt a part of them – until I met the amazing people at St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House. I did two half marathons and the support was amazing both before and after. Not once did you ever feel like it was just about the money. As a volunteer you are as much a part of the day as the runners.”

Mark the volunteer

"You always have a great enjoyable day and the spirit amongst the volunteers is brilliant."

Leon’s story

We offer some opportunities if you’re under the age of 18 – and lots of young people find volunteering an accessible first step into the world of work – it also looks great on their university applications!  Leon volunteers as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award at our Arundel shop.

“I decided to volunteer for Chestnut Tree House so I could do something in my local community. My family have supported the hospice before and that’s how I heard about it. I really enjoy being in the shop and the variety of tasks to do, and I find it works so well alongside my school work and other D of E volunteering.”

- Leon, retail volunteer