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365 Days of Volunteering

By Karen Filsell, volunteer services manager

Volunteers’ Week ran from 1-7 June every year, and in common with voluntary organisations from across Scotland, St Columba’s Hospice held events to thank our fantastic volunteers for the work they do to support those who need the Hospice. We had tea parties in Volunteers’ Week, and I’m delighted to say that a number of our volunteers received Inspiring Volunteering Awards through Volunteer Edinburgh this year! This is also a good time to reflect on what has been happening with volunteering at St Columba’s Hospice and to look at our plans for the future.

Brodie the therapet

Brodie the therapet

Perhaps the most popular change has been introduction of therapets within the Hospice – we now have several dogs and a cat visiting regularly. The people we support find these visits invaluable – particularly if they have had a pet themselves – and the volunteers find their therapet is a great way to start a conversation.

We have seen a significant increase in the number of volunteers in some teams. We now have more than 10 people supporting us within volunteer services in a variety of roles, and our fundraising team was delighted at the response to a call for new tin collector volunteers, over a year ago. We have now seen the impact of this in a huge increase in the amount of money raised through collecting tins.

We have a number of volunteers who are working with senior members of staff, bringing their professional skills and experience to help us with some major pieces of work. These include clinical audit and looking at how we measure and evaluate the implementation of our strategy. These volunteers play a huge part in helping us demonstrate that we are doing the right things, in the right way, and making good use of all our resources.

A number of our volunteers have seen huge changes in what they do – our Iona Café and our Hospice reception seem to get busier and busier; we have updated the look of our shops; and we have introduced new tills into the Iona Café and our shops. Our amazing volunteers have worked hard with us to keep up with all the changes, and offer a warm welcome to the people we look after – patients, families, staff, other volunteers and the public.

Chloe, a volunteer on the wards

We also have plans for the future. We are working with current volunteers to trial some new small initiatives on the wards and with our counselling team, and we are working with staff, volunteers and those we support in our inpatient unit on a large-scale review of our ward volunteer role, in order to develop a more meaningful role for volunteers within our ward teams.

Within one short article, it is impossible to capture all the changes in volunteering. But the Hospice could not do everything that it does, without the steadfast support of the 660 volunteers that we have. Thank you to all of you – and we look forward to working with you in the future!

Click here to find out more about volunteering at the Hospice.