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NORTH KENT: Volunteers' invaluable support of EllenorLions
EllenorLions Hospice relies on people giving up their free time to care and support its work. In part four of our series to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the hospice, ABIGAIL FOULKES finds out more about its band of volunteers.
This year marks EllenorLions’ Silver Jubilee, 25 years of providing hospice care for the community.
Chairman Chris Tait said: “It is a privilege to be able to support families in this way and so we thank you for enabling us to do this.”
The hospice has around 900 volunteers aged between 15 and 88 who work in vital areas to keep its service running.
Fundraising, shops, councilling and driving patients to and from EllenorLions are just some of the duties that volunteers perform.
As an organisation, EllenorLions has 12 dedicated charity shops selling donated goods.
Selling clothes, bric-a-brac, books and household items, the shops make a valuable contribution to EllenorLions Hospice.
Pat Rolf has been a key volunteer in the Lion’s charity shops since they opened 25 years ago.
She became involved when her late husband, Les, pioneered the first of the shops in Northfleet and worked as fundraising chairman for 12 years.
The 76-year-old recalls how she helped the men to fundraise, along with the other Lions’ wives, saying it was “bloomin’ hard work, but great fun. Great great fun.”
When her husband died, Mrs Rolf, who has a daughter and two step-sons, started to volunteer at the weekly coffee mornings, manning cake stalls and selling tickets.
She still enjoys helping out at the open gardens.
The grandmother said: “It’s just wonderful work.
My husband went into the hospice in the final 24 hours of his life back in July 2006, and I was able to care for him.
“The work they do is just superb and the care is excellent.
“Volunteering now is my main motivation- it’s why I carry on.
“The hospice provides a great service for the community.”
EllenorLions is hosting a Silver Jubilee Gala Dinner on June 4.
To book, call 01322 422830 There are a number of ways to give your time to EllenorLions.
The hospice is currently keen to recruit befrienders, week-end ward assistants and an evening receptionist.
Volunteers can either give a regular commitment for sessions in a particular area or they can be put on its emergency list to cover holidays and events, for example, the Summer Fete, Scruffs Dog Show, and Coffee Mornings.
The hospice will take youngsters from local schools for work experience and will also help with hours needed for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
In return, EllenorLions will provide time to suit volunteers and their family commitments, the chance to feel valued and part of a team, and the opportunity to learn new skills.
There is also training and mentoring available for those less experienced.
Voluntary Services Co-ordinator Julie Ferguson said: “Volunteering can help enhance the quality of your own life.
It allows you to pass on your skills and qualities to others and gives you a sense of self worth.”
To find out more on how to volunteer, call 01322 422 830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.