South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer spoke of being “completely inspired” after spending time with charity volunteers in her constituency.
She visited as part of The Big Help Out – a national drive to encourage people to support worthy causes – and one of her destinations was Soham’s East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shop. In addition to chatting to volunteers about their experiences, she found out more about the charity’s retail operation, including spending time in the sorting room and having a go at using the till.
“Community spirit is what binds our country together and it was brilliant to see so many people embodying that,” said Lucy, who also met representatives from Age UK, Soham’s community litter pick and Soham Community Group. “I teamed up with some excellent volunteers and was completely inspired. These different causes have one thing in common – they’re all powered by the generosity of their volunteers. I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in The Big Help Out. It’s so important to give something back to our area.”
Shop Manager Maria Wakeman said: “She’s a lovely lady with a great sense of humour. She made a real effort, seemed genuinely interested and asked lots of questions, both about our shop and EACH generally. It was great to meet her and hopefully a visit of this nature will help raise awareness of the work we do. It was very worthwhile. Lucy handed over her contact details at the end and said to keep in touch, if there was anything she could do. I really appreciated that.”
The Big Help Out, described as “one of the biggest mobilisations of volunteers the country has ever seen”, launched nationally on 20th March. Potential volunteers were encouraged to spare some time and make a contribution to their community as a way of marking the King’s Coronation.
Hannah Milbourne, EACH Volunteer Services and Development Manager, was heartened by the response and said people signed up in shops including Histon Road, Cambridge, and Ely.
She said: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone who took part, by arranging a taster session in their local EACH shop. We loved welcoming them for the day, hope they enjoyed the experience and also hope it’s whet their appetite to become a fully-fledged volunteer. Of course, it’s not too late to get involved and we’re always happy to welcome newcomers. All help is greatly appreciated and there are various roles available, to suit individual skills and interests.”
EACH’s latest Be the Difference campaign – a fortnight-long drive to recruit more volunteers for its 46 shops – runs until Sunday (21st May). The charity relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income and, this year alone, needs to raise £6.5 million from its Retail operation, which includes stores across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex and a busy Retail Distribution Centre, in Thetford.
For more information about volunteering, speak to a member of staff in-store or contact volunteer services on 01223 205183. Alternatively, email email@example.com
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).