Dedicated volunteers have been hailed as the “heartbeat” of a leading children’s charity. East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has paid tribute as part of this year’s national Volunteers’ Week.
The annual celebration takes place between 1st and 7th June and the 2022 theme is ‘a time to say thanks’. EACH, which supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, feels fortunate to have 1,710 “loyal and supportive” volunteers.
More than 1,000 of those – 1,088 – lend a hand in one of the charity’s 44 shops, scattered across East Anglia. There are 345 fundraising and events volunteers (447, including members of EACH’s friends groups) while 102 help in one of its three hospices – The Nook, near Norwich, The Treehouse, in Ipswich, and at Milton, near Cambridge.
Sixty-six people support the charity’s Help at Home scheme, which involves helping families with everyday jobs like shopping, collecting prescriptions, cooking, vacuuming, dusting, washing, ironing and gardening. A further seven provide support in EACH’s central services office, in Milton.
Hannah Milbourne, volunteer services and development manager, said: “I’m sure many people already know how vital the support of volunteers has been to charities like ours over the last 12 months.
“That’s why we’re so keen to take this opportunity to say a very big thank you for their support. We value them so much, whether they help with fundraising, in one of our shops, helping a family at home or at one of our hospices.
“We know many of our volunteers don’t like a fuss. However, it’s important we take the time to let them know that whatever they do, they’re making such an enormous difference to the children and families we support in their community. It feels an ideal time to pause for a moment and say thank you.
“They might not see it on a day-to-day basis but we really wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them. Without them, our charity would grind to a halt. Not only that, during the pandemic, when many were unable to come in as usual, we really missed them. It’s great to have everyone back together again and to see their friendly faces.
“Volunteers are the heartbeat of our organisation and play an integral role in allowing us to provide our vital care services, supporting families and caring for children across East Anglia.”
The 38th national Volunteers’ Week takes place during the #MonthOfCommunity, running throughout June. Hannah says that in addition to thanking existing volunteers, her team would love to hear from others keen to get involved.
“This week is a time to celebrate everything that makes our communities great – and the wonderful volunteers at the heart of them,” she said. “That’s why, in addition to thanking our loyal and supportive volunteers, I’d also love to encourage others to step forward and join us.
“We’re always looking for more people to join our friendly teams and, by agreeing to help, they will be joining together and becoming part of something that helps their local community – as well as taking the opportunity to put their skills to use, learn new ones and meet new people.
“We offer a range of opportunities that are fun and flexible and can be done at a time to suit the individual, so I believe there really is something for everyone. Whatever time someone can offer, even just an hour or two, will make a real difference.”
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact EACH Volunteer Services for an informal chat via 01223 205183. To search the variety of opportunities available, visit each.org.uk or, for more information, email email@example.com