Need to talk?
Volunteers’ Week at St Nicholas Hospice Care
As part of the national Volunteers’ Week which is running from 1-7 June, the Hospice is keen to celebrate our wonderful 600-plus volunteers who generously give their time to St Nicholas Hospice Care.
Michelle Sharpe started giving her time to the Hospice as a Ward Volunteer around four years ago:
“I have always loved all things medical and I was really interested in becoming more involved but didn’t feel like I would have the experience required. I was also living in Sudbury at the time and had quite a stressful job.
“Having moved to Bury, I had changed jobs and although I had to keep working full-time, I was very keen to volunteer for my local community.
“My father-in-law had pancreatic cancer and had been cared for brilliantly by the Hospice. I decided to approach the Hospice and ask about being a Ward Volunteer, and everyone was really great. The meeting I had was so positive.
“I volunteer every Thursday. I finish work, rush home, get changed and I am at the Hospice ready to start my shift by 6pm. I usually leave between 9pm and 9.30pm, but I can stay as long as I am needed.
“A big part of my role is supporting patients with personal care. As a volunteer I know I only probably get a snapshot of what has gone on through the day, but it is a privilege to be able to support the patients.
“I find it so rewarding and so special to be able to care for people at the end of their lives. It might be something simple like brushing their teeth or their hair, but it is such a privilege to be able to do that for someone.
“I am also privileged to be able to get to know the patients and their families.
“Sometimes it can be hard. I am in my mid-40s and sometimes it is difficult not to think that it could be me going through that situation, but I have the chance to be able to make a difference to them.
“I was privileged to be asked to attend a wedding vow renewal ceremony at the Hospice. That was such a touching moment, it was amazing, and everything the Hospice had done to make it happen was brilliant.
“After I had been in the role for a while, the girls on the ward kept saying I should do the job full-time so I decided to join the Hospice’s bank staff. Now I am able to cover weekend shifts as and when I am needed, which I love being able to do.
“I have always felt so supported and so encouraged by everyone on the ward. I have been taught so much and I am still learning.
“If anyone has a few hours a week to spare, I would urge them to see how they could help. Visit the Hospice, have a tour, find out a little bit more.
“I would definitely recommend it. It is so rewarding.”
You can find out more about volunteering at the Hospice here.