The hospice could not continue to care without the dedication of our volunteers. We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to the hundreds of people who give their time to help in the hospice, driving patients to and from the hospice, in fundraising and administration and in our shops. Their work saves the charity more than £1.1 million each year.
Giving a few hours of your time can make a real difference to a local family There are often opportunities for voluntary work including:
Investing in Volunteers is the UK Quality Standard, launched in October 2004 for all organisations that involve volunteers in their work. Dorothy House first achieved the Award in 2006 and in October 2009 we were awarded re-accreditation for another 3 years. The Investing in Volunteers Award shows and acknowledges Dorothy House’s commitment to volunteering. A member of the Hospice staff said of volunteers, “They bring a new energy, a different energy that impacts not only on the patients and families but on the staff too – re-energising them”. Volunteers have been especially enthusiastic about what they gain from the experience of volunteering for Dorothy House:– “I get so much more from, than I give to Dorothy House”. “This is my family – they really care”. “You come here and it is like a big pair of arms wrapping round you as soon as you walk through the door”. “I came here for work experience, I love it so much, I’ve just stayed” “I just want to feel useful; they really bring that out of you”. “The patients, they’ve got all kinds of different interests, some of them would rather talk to a man, some a woman, sometimes someone younger – that kind of thing, so you need all sorts of volunteers”. Staff in our shops are always keen to acknowledge the value of volunteers – “They are the shop……no volunteers, no shop!”
The volunteer application process
All prospective volunteers complete an application form, attend an interview and have references checked. Those working directly with patients and families also undergo a CRB check.
Retail volunteers are interviewed by the Shop Manager, and those at Dorothy House are interviewed by the Voluntary Services Manager and a representative from the department they have expressed an interest in. The interview includes an exploration of the individual’s reasons for volunteering and of the organisations expectations.
“I was amazed at how thorough they are, the interview was very in depth… of course I realise now why they have to be so careful – this isn’t the kind of thing for everyone”.
“It was all very clear, I knew it would take a while, there are lots of checks and things, and I had to wait for the next induction – but that was fine, they were up front from the beginning about that”. Volunteers whose applications are turned down are given relevant feedback.
All of our staff are committed to sustaining volunteers’ motivation and enhancing their experience of volunteering.