To mark Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7), Cardiff’s local hospice City Hospice is paying tribute to its volunteers following a challenging year.
City Hospice provides care to people with terminal or life limiting illnesses, as well as essential counselling and support services for the families of their patients. The only provider of home-based specialist palliative care in the capital, City Hospice provides care and compassion to 550 patients at any one time.
The charity relies heavily on its dedicated team of over 300 volunteers who donate their free time and skills. Pre-Covid, its centre in Whitchurch was filled with friendly volunteer groups covering a range of roles including gardening, driving patients and helping to run bereavement coffee mornings.
As the pandemic took hold, City Hospice adhered to restrictive measures, paused its events and closed its stores across Cardiff, Barry and Penarth, meaning that the majority of its volunteers were unable to continue their duties.
City Hospice made a conscious effort to keep communicating with volunteers during the lockdowns and as selected volunteering activities begin to restart, the charity has created special badges for its supporters as a gesture of appreciation.
Sam Curtis, Volunteer Officer at City Hospice, said: “To mark Volunteers’ Week, we have created our very own ‘Proud to volunteer at City Hospice’ badges. These symbolise our hope for all our volunteers to return in the near future and are to be worn with pride.
“We know that as a charity we have remained in our volunteers’ thoughts throughout the pandemic and they have been in ours. We can’t wait to have all our volunteers back with us and to see them wearing their lovely new badges!”
For many, volunteering can be seen as a lifeline, providing the opportunity for social interaction, skill sharing and the ability to make a difference.
Janet Willey, volunteer Day Centre Host, said: “I started volunteering with City Hospice six years ago. I have really missed volunteering since March 2020 and, in particular, talking to the patients as so many of them have such interesting stories to tell from when they were young.”
Kevin Mackenzie, volunteer Patient Driver Assistant and Day Care Helper, said: “Volunteering with City Hospice gives me great pleasure knowing that I have helped someone in what may be their final months, weeks or days. I very much look forward to returning to do it all again.”
Maurice Prendergast started volunteering at City Hospice with his wife Irene over six years ago following the death of his son in law. Sadly, three years ago Irene passed away having been cared for by City Hospice too. Maurice added: “Volunteering is twice blessed. It blesses those that give it and those that receive it.”