"The greatest gift you can give another person is your time" - hospices thank volunteers

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On Thursday, June 6, St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House held a special event at the Charmandean Centre in Worthing to celebrate the contribution of volunteers and to thank them for their role in supporting local hospice care.

BBC Radio Sussex presenter Allison Ferns presented the Heart Awards, which were given to three individuals who have gone above and beyond in their volunteering roles.

There are all sorts of opportunities for volunteers – as well as fundraising and office support, you could help set up the hospices’ kitchen garden, train as a lifeguard for the hydrotherapy pool or help brides find their perfect dress in the charity’s pre-loved bridal boutique. There are also roles that help patients directly through schemes like Community Companions.

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Hazel McMillan, Head of Engagement said: “There is no greater gift than that of giving your time to help others. Every day so many of our volunteers choose to donate their time to help others, which helps us save money that can be used to support our patients and families in other ways.

Marcus Hoare, Bernard Shaw, Lynn McCutcheon and Allison Ferns.Marcus Hoare, Bernard Shaw, Lynn McCutcheon and Allison Ferns.
Marcus Hoare, Bernard Shaw, Lynn McCutcheon and Allison Ferns.

“We provide ongoing training for our volunteers so they can approach whichever role they choose with confidence. We also know that volunteering help improves mental wellbeing – it provides routine, a chance to socialise, chat, and be a part of a team that makes a difference together.”

Lynn McCutcheon from Worthing received the Caring Heart Award. Lynn is involved in many aspects of volunteering across the charity, from Friends groups to fundraising, admin support and singing in the hospice choir.

The Connected Heart Award went to Bernard Shaw from Rustington, who works 12 hours or more each week to support the Chestnut Tree House maintenance team. He’s a great mentor and has passed on a huge amount of valuable advice, knowledge and skills to the team.

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The winner of the Courageous Heart Award was Worthing’s Marcus Hoare, who brings to life the hospices’ mascots – Sidney and Barnabee. Marcus always has a positive attitude and brings joy and entertainment to children and adults alike at events.

The hospices' choir, Hospice Harmony, performed at the event.The hospices' choir, Hospice Harmony, performed at the event.
The hospices' choir, Hospice Harmony, performed at the event.

The event included speeches by the organisation’s CEO, Amanda Fadero, and Chestnut Tree House parents, Dawn and Adam Burridge, who explained what the children’s hospice means to their son Zac and the whole family.

Adam said: “Chestnut Tree House is not just a support system for us but more like a second family. At every activity or event there is a volunteer ready to help, even if it’s something as simple as offering to make you a tea or coffee.

“Zac’s needs are complex, and he requires a lot of care. Without Chestnut Tree House we wouldn’t have any respite. They’re our arms of comfort when we are having a tough time, and we would be lost without them. I can quite honestly say we don’t know what life would look like without their support.”

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The event closed with a performance by the hospices’ community choir, Hospice Harmony.

Hazel McMillan said: “We were overwhelmed by the many nominations we received for our incredible volunteers, which made it very difficult to narrow it down to three winners. We hope that every volunteer knows how much we value their commitment to the work we do , helping people together every day.

“As well as thanking our volunteers for their ongoing support, the event was an opportunity to introduce one of our biggest fundraising events of the year, The Big Hoot art trail, which launches in Chichester and Arundel this July.

“On behalf of everyone at St Barnabas Hospices, I would like to say a huge thank you to every one of our volunteers for all that they do for the charity and helping to make local hospice care possible.”

Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities at St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House.