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Vincent – Marketing and Fundraising Volunteer
Vincent Fallon volunteers for the Hospice’s Marketing and Fundraising teams.
“I started volunteering at the Hospice about seven years ago. I had retired early to care for my daughter, Sarah who has special needs, however as the months went by Sarah was taking part in more and more activities and becoming less reliant on me during the working week. Up to then, with Sarah’s love of animals, we had spent much of our time at Colchester and Banham zoo, but I then found myself with more free time and so I decided to do something in the voluntary sector. I started by volunteering at a stroke support group in Stowmarket, which I thoroughly enjoyed and so I decided I wanted to do more. I was aware of the Hospice, not through any personal connection, but just because it is a well established local charity.
“I volunteered to work on reception, but on my very first morning I was in for a shock. I had only been there an hour when a voice called out, ‘Hello Vince!’ I looked up and there was a friend I hadn’t seen for two years, standing beside her husband, who was clearly very ill. It was something I was completely unprepared for. The normal response to such a greeting is, ‘Hello, how are you?’ The words stuck in my throat. I just didn’t know what to say. Sadly, Keith died two months later. I like to think I would handle such a situation again a whole lot better. I inherited the Monday morning shift, which I really enjoyed. I got to meet and greet everyone who came into the Hospice, as well as often having to deal with distressful phone calls, before passing them onto the appropriate person, or department. It was the same with visitors too, with either distraught relatives and friends arriving, or grieving families leaving. But in spite of that, the reception area was and still is a happy and vibrant place. As the first port of call it sets the tone for the whole organisation and creates a reassuring and caring atmosphere.
“When the decision to employ reception staff was taken I offered my services to the marketing department, where I have volunteered for about five years. During which time I have been responsible for writing articles, such as ‘Behind the Job’ as well as analysis for Girls Night Out.
“Once I heard the news that the Hospice was going to see a reduction in funding I felt that my time might be better spent split between Marketing and fundraising. Not for me dressing up in silly clothes and gallivanting round Bury, but I had some experience in Trust work, so I discussed it with Aaron and then we approached Kevin and he was delighted to welcome me onboard. He introduced me to Victoria, our Trust Officer and she too was pleased for me to help.
“There are hundreds of Charitable Trusts that potentially could offer funding and grants to our Hospice, the trouble is finding the time and resources to seek out the most appropriate ones, so I have been researching the ones that could be relevant to us, as well as dusting down old archive material seeking out Trusts who have helped us over the years, but for one reason or another have fallen by the wayside.
“In between all of this I have been compiling this year’s Hospice calendar, with the help of Penny in Orchard Day, Cheryl, our creative arts volunteer, and Marketing, so I hope you will all put your orders in for your copy. With a suggested donation of just £5.00, it’s a snip!
“I volunteer at the Hospice because I enjoy it, because it gives me the chance to make a difference. I always think back to a time when I was on reception, it was the first time I had witnessed the Hospice’s interview process – it was rigorous, which shows the effort the Hospice goes to, to get the right people and if I can make a little bit of a difference by volunteering then I will keep doing it.”
To find out more about volunteering for the Hospice, please click here.