A former children’s hospice employee who swapped nursing for volunteering says she would recommend it to anyone.
Caroline Church was Care Manager at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ former Quidenham base. After retiring four years ago, she wanted to stay connected with the charity and now spares four hours a week to help at the EACH shop in Aylsham Road, Norwich. She also gives her time to support the wellbeing team at The Nook, in Framingham Earl, which replaced Quidenham and was opened by The Princess of Wales in November 2019.
“EACH makes such an enormous difference to the children and families it cares for and supports,” said Caroline, who was speaking during the charity’s Be the Difference campaign – a fortnight-long drive to recruit more volunteers for its 46 shops.
“I was always aware of the importance of the shops, during my time as an employee. However, now I’m on the other side of the fence and get a completely different perspective of all the amazing work that goes on in the community. In terms of the shops, they only function thanks to the hard work, dedication and commitment of volunteers. Without these wonderful people, they wouldn’t be able to operate because there are only a limited number of paid staff. It’s so inspiring and volunteering is definitely something I’d recommend to anyone.”
Caroline, who lives in Sprowston, started working for EACH in 2008, joining the team as a nurse before progressing to become Care Manager.
“When I took early retirement, I wanted to carry on supporting the organisation,” said the 59-year-old, who is married with two grown-up children and three grandsons. “I’m passionate about the care it provides at end of life, from diagnosis onwards, and the bereavement support families receive afterwards. That care is not available anywhere else. It’s something I’m deeply passionate about and, by volunteering, I still feel I’m helping to provide a valuable service.
“It’s also allowed me to remain connected to the charity, which is important to me. I’ve met some lovely new friends and enjoy chatting to customers, knowing the money raised is helping to promote excellent care and support. I also support the wellbeing team at various groups and events, including child support groups, sibling groups, bereavement events and the Christmas party. It’s fantastic to see the children and families gaining so much and it’s a lot of fun.”
EACH relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income. This year alone it needs to raise £6.5 million from its Retail operation, which includes stores across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex and a busy Retail Distribution Centre, in Thetford.
For more information, speak to a member of staff in-store or contact volunteer services on 01223 205183. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
“We’d heard about EACH and knew they were a fantastic cause that had supported families we knew, but we never thought we’d be the ones that needed them! Sadly, as fantastic as it is, their service will always be required, and every child who needs their help deserves to have it.”
- We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
- We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).