Over 230 volunteers and staff were recognised and thanked at a series of special social events last weekend at Treetops Hospice Care.

And the hospice, which provides emotional support and nursing care for people with life limiting conditions, and those who’ve been bereaved, across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, is keen to welcome new volunteers.

Alongside a feast of food and drinks, thirty-eight volunteers were presented with five and ten year awards recognising their dedication and commitment to the hospice.

The charity has over 500 volunteers who help in numerous roles including helping in the charity’s shops, fundraising, admin and driving patients to and from the hospice.

I really couldn’t do it without them

Amongst those who received a ten year award was Valerie Smith, 62yrs from Stapleford. Val is shop manager at the Treetops charity shop in Stapleford:

“I started at Treetops as a volunteer and can’t believe I’m getting my ten year award now. I’m chuffed and whatever the future brings, I will just cherish the time here.

“Today is a lovely day when everyone has a chance to mingle and for me it’s special as it brings my team of volunteers together.

“My team are so invaluable to me and to the hospice, they’re a big asset – we are the ambassadors for the hospice out in the community. I really couldn’t do it without them.

“The volunteers sort stock that comes in, process goods ready for sale and most of all, recognise and acknowledge customers which makes it a real community shop.

Everyone goes home smiling

Val explained how volunteer benefit from getting involved:

“I think volunteers get a lot of social pleasure from volunteering their time, they make friends and for some, develop new skills and build their confidence. Until they actually volunteer, they don’t realise what they get from it. We have young and old volunteers and they mix really well. It’s good fun and everyone goes home smiling.”

Volunteering is great for all walks of life

Julie Throup, from Breaston volunteers at the Draycott shop and recieved her ten year award:

“Today has been great. I like to see the people I work with in different situations but also I’m meeting people from all the different shops as well as those that work here at the hospice itself.

“Volunteering is great for all walks of life and it gives you a sense of belonging. I just like being in the shop. We receive such a lot of donations so I help with sorting and also on the till, serving customers. I think if people are thinking about volunteering but feeling a bit nervous, just come in and give it a go – I think they’ll find they do like it.”

It’s a win-win for everybody

Kully from Derby, has volunteered at the Duffield charity shop for over a year:

“I help with sorting stock, serving customers and filling in for the manager when needed. It’s very satisfying, feeling you’re contributing and giving support. I love the interaction I have with people as we welcome them into the shop – to me it’s a real connection with the local community. There’s a lot of satisfaction with sending someone away happy and they’ve got what they came in for. The staff and team are really good and we socialise outside of work.

“I volunteer because it’s such a good cause and it makes it all the more worthwhile. It ticks all the boxes and it’s a win-win for everybody – I get a something out of it, the customers get a lot out of it, and so do Treetops.

“I am really busy in my personal life but I still want to go in every week – I’m excited about going in and always get a lovely reception from the team who make me feel so welcome and valued.

“Everybody is busy so it’s a big step to contribute by giving time but I think most of us can. It’s about finding an area within Treetops that you have an interest in – whether it’s in a shop in the local community or in the hospice – find an area that you would enjoy and get satisfaction from, and then just try it! Most people will find it really rewarding.”

Our volunteers make such a difference

Angela Walters

Angela Walters, volunteer services coordinator, explained how important volunteers are to the hospice:

“We love the opportunity to recognise and thank our volunteers at our special social weekends. They are the absolute backbone to the charity and we simply couldn’t do our job caring for people facing a life-limiting illness without their support.

“By donating their time, skills, compassion and kindness, our volunteers make such a difference to the services and experience that we are able to provide to patients and their families.

“We are incredibly thankful to all our volunteers for the time they give, and the dedication and passion that they bring – we couldn’t do it without them! We would also love to hear from new people who would like to join our Treetops community.”

Those interested in finding out more about volunteering at Treetops can email volunteering@treetopshospice.org.uk, call 0115 949 1264 or head to the Volunteer Services webpage here.

Treetops services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.