Volunteering at St Margaret’s brought back Le-Anne’s confidence and gave her purpose, now she doesn’t ever want to stop helping:
In 2010, I had a stroke. Before that happened, I was a family support advisor. I had always worked, so I was determined to regain my independence as soon as I was able to.
I tried for a number of years to get a job, but as a wheelchair user it felt like I was blocked at every turn. It was depressing and frustrating being out of work. Then someone suggested volunteering.
I thought about what I could do and came up with the idea of St Margaret’s, because a relative had been cared for by the hospice a few years before.
I rang Sue Wilmott, the Volunteer Coordinator, and explained my situation. She invited me in for a chat and I was made to feel really welcome. My disability wasn’t an issue, which I’d found it was in previous interviews for paid jobs.
Soon I started volunteering on reception at the Taunton hospice, and I’ve been here for years now.
Volunteering gave me a purpose. Before that I felt useless. You get stuck in a rut, but coming here cheered me up – it brought the old me back.
Getting out and meeting people again was so helpful. It boosts your confidence.
I needed a job to get my independence back, and volunteering helped me to get back into employment. Now I work at Tesco, but I’ve continued volunteering at St Margaret’s on my days off. I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop.
The thing I like about being a reception volunteer is meeting people. Sometimes you can make a difference just by having a chat or making somebody a drink.
I just like interacting with people, knowing I’m helping and giving something back.
I would advise anybody to volunteer, whether you’re in a job or not – even if you can only do an hour. There are so many different things you can do at St Margaret’s, and it’s flexible – you can do as little or as much as you want.
Before I came here I thought the hospice was going to be clinical, but it’s a really warm and friendly atmosphere. It’s like a home from home, where people feel safe.
Since I’ve been volunteering here, my father-in-law was looked after brilliantly at the hospice – they can’t do enough. If my time comes, I’d like to be somewhere like this rather than in a hospital. We need more places like this.
If you would like to see volunteering opportunitues or talk to one of our Volunteer Coordinators about volunteering at St Margaret's click here.