Thank you to our volunteers

October 2021


Did you know that Prospect Hospice has over 800 volunteers supporting our vital work?

All of them play an important part and there are over 50 different roles from volunteering in our charity shops, tending our gardens, reception duties at the hospice, helping in our inpatient unit and many more.

During Hospice Care Week we are highlighting the contribution of three of our long-serving volunteers.

Jackie Matthews, 82, has volunteered at our Old Town charity shop for the past 20 years and is the longest serving in the shop.

Jackie, who lives in Swindon, joined the Prospect Hospice team after retiring from her customer service job at Boots in the Brunel Centre, Swindon.

“Volunteering at the Prospect Hospice charity shop is my way of helping the hospice. It also gets me out of the house for a morning each week and I enjoy working alongside other volunteers and the manager and meeting customers.

“People are really friendly and we have regular customers. They like to have a natter and so do I! Charity shops in general have changed during the last 20 years and our shop has changed to become more boutique and it looks nice,” she said.

Liz Bentley, 77, has been a volunteer driver for the past 23 years. She has driven patients to and from the hospice for day therapy and while this is on hold due to the pandemic, she also collects medicines and other supplies from Great Western Hospital to bring back to the hospice’s inpatient unit.

Liz began volunteering after retiring from Wiltshire County Council as deputy computer manager in the magistrates’ clerks’ office.

Liz, who lives in Swindon, said: “My time volunteering with Prospect Hospice has been thoroughly enjoyable and I’ve made some wonderful friends.

“Knowing I’m doing my bit to help patients who are nearing the end of their life is really satisfying.

“Every patient I drove to and from day therapy was absolutely amazing – they took each day as it came and were so relaxed. Their families were so appreciative that we were there to drive their loved one to the hospice and return them home.”

Claire Stiles, 66, has undertaken a variety of volunteering roles for Prospect Hospice during the past 28 years, including giving complimentary therapy to patients and providing companionship to patients receiving care in their homes.

Claire, who runs a smallholding at her home in Winterbourne Bassett, started at the hospice when it was originally based at the Victoria Hospital in Old Town, Swindon.

She said: “It was a small team and I helped serve meals to the patients and if the relatives fancied fish and chips I would go to the shop round the corner and get it for them. I would also iron patient’s clothes by their bedside.”

When the hospice moved to its purpose-built premises in Wroughton she volunteered on the reception desk and also in the inpatient unit where she sat with patients and served meals. After this she volunteered with the day hospice, used by patients three days a week to socialise and do activities.

Complimentary therapy followed and Claire became trained to give gentle hand and foot massage to patients.

She said: “I do the M technique which is a light skin surface massage and patients have found it to be relaxing which can help alleviate pain or stress.”

Looking back on her time volunteering with Prospect Hospice, she said: “I get great joy and a buzz out of my volunteering with the hospice and I make myself available for whatever is needed. I feel honoured that I’ve been given a gift to do this and honoured that patients and their families trust me to be with them on their journey and honoured that I am recognised as part of a team.

“I love the way Prospect Hospice supports not just patients – we are there for their family and friends as well. We are there to walk the journey with them and let the rest of the family know they are not battling on their own.”

Su Starkey, head of volunteering, learning and inclusion at Prospect Hospice, said: “Our volunteers do remarkable work for the charity and we are so grateful for the time and dedication they give us. Many of them, including Jackie, Liz and Claire, have volunteered for many years and we thank them for their ongoing support and commitment.

“The work of our volunteers is vital to our work providing end-of-life care to patients and support to their loved ones. We simply couldn’t do what we do without them.”

Pictured left-right – Jackie Matthews, Liz Bentley and Claire Stiles.

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