1 June 2023

Today is the start of Volunteers’ Week!

In every part of our Katharine House, you will find volunteers generously giving up their time to help our hospice.

Whether it’s in our shops, at our events, on reception, in our wards, driving patients to appointments, providing bereavement support ... the list goes on! We simply couldn’t do what we do without the amazing people who volunteer for Katharine House – they are all Hospice Heroes.

In fact, our regular volunteers help us save £1 million every year through the work they do – all completely free of charge.

So we want to say a HUGE thank you to every single one of them! Your support makes a massive difference.

This Volunteers’ Week, we’ve chosen to focus on our younger volunteers and the amazing things they do for us, but also the benefits it brings to them...

Meet Noah!

Noah is a final year business student at the Banbury & Bicester College. He joined our eBay team in February for a four-month work experience placement to find out what the world of work is like and develop new skills ahead of starting university in September.

Noah, who recently turned 18, has given an amazing 12 hours a week to the team, and contributed sales of nearly £700, which Noah said: “feels good. It’s pretty cool actually.” 

Our eBay shop has an eclectic mix of items, which surprised Noah. "The randomness of the items is also kind of cool. The massive cat collection that came in, I thought might be worth £20, but sold for £350!"

Noah’s gained plenty of new skills as part of the role and told us: "I really enjoyed doing the research and background". He’s already put this new-found knowledge to good use by making a great profit on his favourite items: two pairs of Adidas trainers, which sold for close to £120.

The placement has more than met Noah’s aim to better his future.

"It gave me an idea for what to expect working in general. I thought it would be scary, it wasn’t complicated at all. It was peaceful, friendly and welcoming."

As well as learning about product research, Noah picked up key life and work skills, including time management, organisational skills, tracking his own productivity and improving his photography. Being independent and relying on public transport was also a new challenge. The main thing for Noah was being productive and fulfilled. He explained: "coming here has taken away the boredom of doing unproductive stuff."

Volunteering offers plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and develop, all while supporting a good cause.  How would Noah sum up his volunteering experience? "EPIC!"

Thank you Noah for your hard work and commitment to Katharine House. Sending you so much luck for your next adventure.

If this sounds like something you might enjoy, take a look at our e-commerce volunteering role.

Meet Norah!

This is Norah. She recently helped out her Auntie Carley from our Fundraising team with the very important job of making up our medals for the Moonlight Walk.

Katharine House is also a special place for Norah as it’s where family friend Tim was cared for.

She told us: "I am Norah and I am eight years old. I love Katharine House Hospice because they looked after Tim. I also did the Santa Fun Run with my family and friends, I really liked my medal, I have kept it safe and it reminds me of Tim. I wanted to help my Auntie Carley because she helps make money for the hospice."

Thank you Norah for all your help!

As well as regular volunteering commitments, we have plenty of one-off opportunities and smaller  roles – like Norah’s medal making – that still make a big difference and help our hospice.

We know that many of our volunteers give up their time as a way of showing support for the place that made a difference to a loved one.

Find more about our current volunteering opportunities.

Meet Hannah!

You may recognise Hannah as our Living Well Care Co-ordinator, but Hannah actually started out as a volunteer in the Day Hospice back in 2011 while doing A-levels.

It was this experience working directly with hospice patients that motivated Hannah to do an Adult Nursing degree at Oxford Brookes. Hannah explained: "I’m a people person, I love chatting. I got a lot out of getting to know people individually. I used volunteering as a gateway to find out what I wanted to do. It made me realise I did want to work with people, and I was inspired by Pat Smith, Lead of the Day Hospice, to become a nurse."

Until then Hannah hadn’t realised how many opportunities there were and how much goes into looking after people. Pat’s friendliness and approach to patients and inclusion and respect of Hannah as a volunteer had a big impact on her and ignited a passion for "getting to know people as they are" and to her realisation that a nursing career was right for her.

Hannah volunteered for Katharine House for many years and always felt appreciated and part of the Katharine House team with frequent updates and event invitations. When a new Living Well Care Co-ordinator role came up at the end of 2022 working directly with patients again, Hannah jumped at it.

“I already knew it was a great place and environment and a huge benefit to the community, so it was easy to come back!”

Thank you Hannah!

If volunteering in Living Well is something you’ve been thinking about, why not apply as one of our Art Volunteers.

Meet Alex!

They say that volunteering makes you feel good and gives you a warm glow – and that’s quite literally true for Alex!

Alex was encouraged to help marshal at our Moonlight Walk by his mum Sarah, our Community Volunteers Officer, for a fun and rewarding family activity. A massive Minion fan, Alex was only too happy to join in with the movie theme!

It was Alex’s first time doing anything like this. He said: "I felt nervous at the start and then when I started it was fun and easy. It’s great using some of your time to help do good stuff."

Although it was a late night, Alex loved being able to support the Katharine House team with small but important jobs – from collecting pizza, to delivering hoodies and shouting encouragement to the hundreds of walkers.

Alex continued: "It feels amazing that I helped. I feel I’m doing the right thing doing this for the community where I live. It was great fun helping out for a good cause."

It’s also a great way to meet new people – Alex met Gabe, another young volunteer, who also agreed that volunteering is "really great fun!"

Thank you Alex – and to all our volunteers who supported us at the Moonlight Walk. We couldn’t have put on the event without you. We have some more event volunteer opportunities coming up at the Broughton Sportive in July not to mention our Santa Fun Run in December!!!

Meet Annabelle!

Annabelle started volunteering at our Banbury shop around five years ago while studying an Art Foundation course at Banbury College. Annabelle had fond memories of popping into the shop every week with her mum, so when she found her timetable free on Thursday afternoons, she started volunteering at a place that felt familiar.

Annabelle said: "I am so passionate about sustainability and the whole thing we do here is amazing. Rehoming and reusing and reducing landfill –  it’s so important."

The diverse range of items in the shop has been a great source for her textiles and silk screen art, for example using plain cotton curtains as the basis for her coursework creating home furnishings.

Annabelle loves sorting donations when they come in, excited to see what each bag may hold and where it may go next. It’s brilliant to see Annabelle’s passion for sustainability being reflected in her volunteering role. It also lead Annabelle towards a career choice she wasn’t expecting. "I fell into retail, as I loved it in the shop and the skills complement each other." Instead of going to college Annabelle decided to continue with a career in retail, becoming Assistant Manager at William Powell in Banbury.

How did volunteering help? "Confidence is a humongous thing it’s given me, as well as life skills such as talking to the public. It boosted my confidence."

Despite working full time, Annabelle has Tuesdays off which she still spends volunteering in the Banbury shop. "Knowing what I do here helps all those people is heart warming. Helping people at the hospice and helping myself with my personal needs and confidence. I met so many lovely people here. They are my other family. It means so much to me. It’s my life, it’s just something that I do, it’s become my tradition."  

Thank you, Annabelle, for your amazing commitment to Katharine House.

Find out more about volunteering in one of our charity shops.