Prospect Hospice volunteers still making a difference during the pandemic

March 2021


Each year, 800+ volunteers play an essential part in helping Prospect Hospice deliver their specialist end of life services. Coming from across Swindon, Marlborough, and north east Wiltshire their volunteers take on varied roles for the hospice from gardeners and charity shop assistants to working in the inpatient unit and helping at fundraising events.

Graham Biggs, volunteering operations and recruitment officer at Prospect Hospice said, “We couldn’t do what we do without the work of our amazing volunteers. Whether it’s a few hours once in a while or a regular weekly shift, they play a crucial part in supporting the hospice. By giving their time, they’re some of the biggest donors to our hospice and we are hugely thankful to every single one of them.

“Due to the pandemic, many of the volunteers’ roles are still currently on hold but that hasn’t stopped our volunteers wanting to help and you’d be surprised at some of the roles our volunteers are doing at the moment to help out during this difficult time.”

Lyn Smith is one of the volunteers who is helping out at the moment. Lyn has been volunteering in the Heart of the Hospice café for several years, and with the hospice being closed to general visitors since the lockdowns were imposed, the café has also been suspended. Lyn contacted the voluntary services team at the hospice to offer her services in any area to help out and is now volunteering on the reception desk at the hospice.

Graham said, “Since working on the main reception desk, Lyn has gained more knowledge about the hospice and the staff that work here. She now has a much better understanding of what each department does within the hospice, and the various services we offer to help people in our community.”

Volunteer Doreen normally volunteers in the café serving meals or is in the hospice kitchen helping the chefs prepare food, but due to lockdown, Doreen has not been able to continue her roles. Doreen is now volunteering at the charity’s distribution centre and said, “it great to be able to offer some help.”

Graham said, “Doreen wanted to continue helping in any way to support the hospice, so we directed her to our distribution centre as our eBay team needed some help to label and send out parcels that had been sold.

Pauline is one of the volunteers at the distribution centre and helps sort books and media donations for resale in the charity’s shops. Due to the closure of the shops, Pauline is now an emergency response volunteer covering essential screening checks to test visitors at the hospice. Pauline enjoys this new role and said “it’s good to know that I am helping out to allow the nursing team to focus on their key activities. It also allows me to meet more new people.”

Volunteer Ros has swapped her normal role and is also helping to do essential screening checks on visitors coming into the hospice to visit patients. She is also supporting the reception desk and helping with the laundry and supplies.

Ros said “I just wanted to do something to help use my existing skills. There is only so much daytime TV you can watch and I wanted my time to be spent helping people and this gives me such reward in these trying times.”

Linda Byron generally volunteers in the hospice’s café and day therapy unit and living local to the hospice, Linda has always offered to help when needed. When the request came to support their inpatient unit reception during the lockdown, Linda was more than willing to help. She said, “I love helping and making a difference and there is only so much dog walking I can do in lockdown. My poor dog’s paws have nearly worn away, plus it helps towards my mental health. I know the nursing team really appreciate my help and I am glad that I can support wherever needed.”

Graham said, “Volunteers play a huge part in the success and sustainability of our hospice and donate their time to help us provide care and support to local people, and we are incredibly grateful, as we couldn’t do all that we do without them. All of our volunteers continue to show their support for us every day and we can’t wait to welcome them all back across the charity when it is safe to do so.”

Due to the pandemic, the hospice isn’t currently seeking new volunteers as it is unable to take them through the full induction at this time, however, they are keeping in contact with those who would like to donate their time to the hospice in the future.

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering with Prospect Hospice you can email the team via volunteering@prospect-hospice.net or call  Graham on 01793 816193.


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