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Meet Julie. Julie first started at Helen & Douglas House as a volunteer in 2015, working on our reception desk. A couple of years later, Julie moved over to volunteering with our care team. And, more recently, she has joined the care team as a member of staff.

Julie with Holly

Julie started volunteering because she wanted something in her life with a purpose. She first started on reception, but later moved to the care team. This was as she had a background in nursing and enjoyed the family orientated feel of the hospice. As a care team volunteer, she would assist the team at the hospice, both in-house and on days out. She would also help out with sibling support, all whilst providing our life-changing care and support.

Julie told us, ‘One of the many trips we have taken the children on included a visit to Millets Farm. We took two children staying with us for respite care, Nathan and Mia. On the day out, we wore fancy dress and had a great day.’

Why do we need volunteers?

As a charity, we rely on both staff and volunteers working in and around the hospice. This is so we can continue to deliver supportive stays and end-of-life care, and be there when families need us. As a volunteer, Julie enjoyed getting involved with anything that needed doing. As well as the care and support she helped with, Julie would also assist with cleaning and catering as required. This flexibility is essential to keep our service running.

‘Volunteering enhanced my skills and reminded me why I went into nursing before I had my children. I loved being back in the care environment. So, when I found myself with more time, I joined the care team as a member of staff, which I am so pleased about.’

Julie and children at Millets

From volunteer to carer

Last year, when a vacancy came up, Julie applied for a role in our care team and has never looked back. She tells us, ‘I am now a member of the care team, providing hands-on care. I help with all aspects of caring for a child who is staying at the hospice. What I like best about my job I that whatever I do is appreciated and makes a big difference to our families lives.’

Why volunteer for Helen & Douglas House?

Here at Helen & Douglas House we rely on volunteers in our shops, at the hospice and to help families (who we care for) at home. In the year 2020-2021, the total number of volunteering hours amounted to around 128,200. This is worth over £1m to the charity and helps local families with children with life-shortening and terminal conditions. Each year, we rely on volunteers to help in our shops, maintain our hospice garden, help the care team and much more.

What makes a good volunteer?

Interested in volunteering at the hospice? Julie said volunteering is suitable to anyone who has a flexible and open mindset and is happy to get involved with anything. Some people think that a hospice is full of sadness, but most of our volunteers will say that it is a very happy place. It is a place where you can meet the children and families we care for, but also get involved in other activities or help with fundraising events.

Want to volunteer for Helen & Douglas House?

Whether it’s in one of our local shops, or in the hospice, there are so many opportunities to volunteer at the Helen & Douglas House. Take a look at our volunteering page to apply, or call us on 01865 794749