Volunteering at Hospiscare helped Liz get her confidence back
PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:02 20 January 2020
A selfless act to help a charity or good cause often brings surprising personal benefits and rewards to the individual.
Volunteers often gain confidence, make new friends and learn additional skills.
And the belief at Devon charity, Hospiscare, is that volunteering has a huge, positive impact on many peoples' lives.
At the heart of its service are the talents, passion, inspiration and commitment of its volunteers, many of whom have been helping out for more than 25 years.
Hospiscare is privileged to be supported by more than 1,000 active volunteers, all giving on average three hours per week, which equates to an annual value of approximately £1.3m to the charity.
Yet, these numbers do not even begin to describe the enormous value and magnanimous contributions of its volunteers.
The variety of volunteering roles at Hospiscare is vast. From creative and artistic roles such as flower arranging and photography, to care-centred roles such as complementary therapy and care navigation.
People often help out for all sorts of reasons, and for one volunteer, Liz Crosfield, aged 56, from Seaton, her good deed has been life changing.
Originally from London, Liz moved to Seaton to be closer to family after her parents died. Both her mother and father died within a short space of time of each other which came as a huge shock.
It was, understandably, an extremely traumatic time for Liz and she became withdrawn. She didn't want to leave the house or see anyone and was prescribed anti-depressants.
Yet, the move to Seaton was a positive one, and by January 2019, Liz felt ready to re-engage with life. She wanted to make a contribution to the community, but also needed to do something that would boost her confidence.
Retracing her steps from a year ago, Liz said: "I went for a walk in Seaton and stopped by at the Hospiscare shop. I asked Barbara, the sales advisor, if they needed any volunteers. Barbara responded with a very enthusiastic - Yes Please!"
A few days later, Liz was called in for a trial.
Liz said: "I absolutely loved it from the start! Everyone's so supportive and it has given me a lot more confidence".
Volunteering at the shop has motivated Liz to get further involved with the charity. She participated in a five-mile Twilight Walk and donated some of her mum's craft supplies to help others make original items to sell on and raise more money for the charity.
Yet, Liz's biggest personal gain has been with the increase in her confidence.
She added: "Volunteering has given me a huge amount of confidence. Even though I haven't been living in Seaton for very long, I really feel like I'm part of the community".
Liz helps in the shop in many ways; from sorting donations and steaming clothes to talking to customers and creating window displays.
She said: "Volunteering has completely changed my life and outlook. I'm in a much better place because of it. I'm completely unrecognisable from where I was just a year ago".
For anyone who is interested in volunteering, Liz advises: "To anyone that wants to try volunteering I'd say just give it a go! I've got so much more out of volunteering than I thought I would. You never know the change it could make in your life".
There are many ways to volunteer for Hospiscare. In East Devon, there is a need for drivers to transport patients to and from the day hospices in Exmouth and Honiton.
Plus, there's a call for gardeners to volunteer at these two East Devon hospices.
Care Navigators, namely people who are specifically trained to visit patients at home and offer practical support and companionship, are also required across the area.
Complementary therapists, bereavement support volunteers and retail volunteers are also being sought in East Devon.
To find out more about the range of volunteering roles available in Seaton and East Devon, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Vicky or Bob on 01392 688005.