Christina joined the team as a volunteer Ward Receptionist back in 2017, but has since taken on a few other roles… Here she shares a little about the different ways she supports the hospice and why it matters to her.

What are your volunteering roles?

As well as being a Ward Receptionist, I’m also a Trustee of the Board and a Hospice Companion.

As you can imagine, each role is quite different. My regular Wednesday morning as Ward Receptionist in the Inpatient Unit (IPU) can involve everything and anything that isn’t clinical. It could be answering the phone, making tea, chatting with visitors and patients, or organising transport.

Usually when people think of a hospice, they immediately picture the IPU, but there’s so much going on in the community as well. The Hospice Companion service supports people with a connection to Katharine House who are feeling isolated – it could be a patient or a carer. It’s a chance for a regular friendly and supportive chat with someone, whether that’s over the phone, on a video call or in person. I’ve been a Hospice Companion for two people so far. We talk about whatever they want to talk about, it might be recipes, news, current affairs, family – just as you would with a friend.

Last but not least, in my role as one of the Trustees on the Board for Katharine House, I attend regular meetings where we oversee the running of the charity. And with my experience of volunteering in IPU, I’m able to share insights from the Ward straight to the Board.

How long have you volunteered at Katharine House?

I started volunteering for Katharine House in 2017 after moving to Oxfordshire. I initially started as a Ward Receptionist, before being elected as Trustee in 2018 and then joined the Hospice Companion team in 2019.

Why did you choose to volunteer at the hospice?

Giving something back to the community has always been important to me, even when I was working full time. So, when I retired in 2016, after about six months I felt as though I needed to do something.

I’ve had a connection to Katharine House since 2002, when a very dear friend died in the hospice. And then, more recently, my aunt was cared for in a hospice in London. Having experienced the support of the volunteers myself and seen how valuable they are, it led me to looking on the Katharine House website for volunteering opportunities.

What do you like about volunteering at Katharine House?

I really enjoy being able to help without the need for recognition. It’s so worthwhile – and is such a good feeling.

I also get different things out of each of the roles that I do. I love the interaction of being a Ward Receptionist and making a difference to families going through a tough time.

As a Hospice Companion I can just listen and be a friend to someone who really needs it.

While being a Trustee allows me to make use of my years of experience from the workplace and as a former Board member for Motor Neurone Disease Association. I can offer my skills and knowledge as well as my time.

What would you say to a friend about volunteering here?

I’d say do it. If you’ve got time to spare it’s an amazing way to spend some fulfilling hours.

Volunteering is such a rewarding thing to do. It’s also a very grounding experience: by giving up a morning a week it puts everything else into perspective.

Country walk or city break?

Can I say both? I’m lucky enough to have lots of beautiful country walks right on my doorstep. There’s a great 8-mile loop that we like to do from our home. But I have also enjoyed some incredible city breaks. My favourite was probably to Vienna, where we saw Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss in a gallery – I was like a kid in a sweetshop!

Dog or cat?

I’d have to say cat, although we don’t have either. Dogs are just a bit messier.

EastEnders or Corrie?

Both – I often have them on in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner.

Katharine House Hospice