What’s your volunteering role?

I am a volunteer Ward Receptionist on the Inpatient Unit at Katharine House and have been volunteering at Katharine House since September 2019.

What do you like about volunteering at Katharine House? 

It really is the most peaceful place. People tend to think of hospices as places of sadness and grief, and it’s true that it can be an emotional ask to volunteer here, but there is a real sense of community, and so much love and respect is shown to the people who stay with us and their loved ones that it is hard to view Katharine House as a sad place at all. There are so many social opportunities as well, from singing in our choir to getting involved in our numerous fundraising initiatives, it’s as busy a role as you want to make it!

How do you feel when you leave the hospice after your shift?

It really depends on the day! I leave some shifts feeling quite delicate as it can be difficult to see the reality of illness in a way we are not usually exposed to. After other shifts I leave feeling positive, and that I’ve made a difference to someone, be it patient, family member, or staff member (it’s surprising how much people really do appreciate you washing up!).  In all cases, though, I leave with my faith in humanity restored by the selfless work I see being done to add value to the end of people’s lives, and to support loved ones even after their friend or family member has passed.

What skills have you gained from volunteering? 

I have gained skills in talking to people about difficult subjects concerning life and death, and I have learned a lot about the function of the hospice and the invaluable palliative care we offer in the community as well as onsite. As volunteers at Katharine House, we also have the opportunity and are encouraged to be involved in the development of the hospice’s services, which is very rewarding. 

What would you say to a friend about volunteering here?

I would very much recommend it! It is a privilege to have the opportunity to help such a worthwhile cause. 

Country walk or city break?

A country walk I think, provided there’s a pub somewhere on route!

Dog or cat?

I love dogs! Specifically, Golden Retrievers, and particularly my own: a clumsy, bouncy (naughty) 11-month-old Retriever named Rudi.

Eastenders or Corrie?

Honestly, neither! My most recent binge-watch was Ricky Gervais’ 2013 series Derek … a real tear-jerker that reminds you of the value of being kind in a world where kindness is so frequently undervalued.

Katharine House Hospice