Volunteers’ Week 2023: Ann Smith’s Story

2 June 2023

National charity, Sue Ryder, has several charity shops across Hampshire and volunteers are key to running them. Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition, Sue Ryder’s doctors, nurses, and carers give people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can.

We caught up with volunteer Ann Smith about her experience with volunteering for the charity, she had this to say:

Why did you decide you wanted to volunteer?

“I have volunteered in the past but have had a break due to illness and a house move. Once settled I was determined to volunteer again. I am retired and live on my own so apart from anything else it gives a purpose to some of my days that otherwise might feel quite empty”.

Were there any difficulties or barriers to finding a volunteer role?

“I looked around the area I had moved to and could see that quite a few places/organisations needed volunteers. There seemed to be quite a choice of venues. Choosing the right one for me had to coincide with my interests and where I would feel most comfortable. I happened upon ‘Volunteer First’ whilst browsing the internet and thought that it seemed a good idea to proceed through a central place so that they might identify where help was most needed.”

Was it easy to apply, what did you have to do?

“A simple application form was easy to complete which showed where there were ‘vacancies.’

“I chose a Sue Ryder shop as the cause is so worthwhile and I had volunteered for this type of work before. I had a response from Sue Ryder qui

ckly and before I knew it I was there in the shop in Porchester. Everyone has been so welcoming and friendly and I felt at ease straight away.”

What have been the best bits about volunteering so far?

“It’s good to get up and get dressed for a reason. It’s good to meet people and chat. It’s good to involve myself with customers who are often quite lonely and come in for a chat as much as anything else. It feels good knowing that what you do is helping such a good cause and cashing up at the end of a session to see how much we have taken is exciting. Always trying to beat our targets.”

What advice would you give other people who think they may want to volunteer?

“Volunteering is something anyone can do. Whatever your interests, talents, there is something out there for you. It’s good for the mind and the body and stops you becoming isolated and overly concerned about yourself. Even if you feel uncertain, hesitant or unsure I would recommend anyone to give it a try – everyone benefits.”

Was it helpful to you using the Volunteer Service/the Volunteer First website and would you recommend them to others?

“Using the Volunteer Service/Volunteer First organisation is a really good way of getting going if you are unsure about what you can do or what is needed/available. They have an overview of what’s going on and can point you in the right direction.”

“You won’t regret it and you will end up making friends for life whilst helping a charity that really needs you.”

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