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Helping hand required to boost good causes

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 03, 2014

HELPING HAND . . . The Needwood Friends group is just on of dozens from across the area that help out good causes such as St Giles through volunteering.

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WITH modern-day society being so fast-paced, people often don’t have time to do even the simple things in life, such as meet family and friends or wash the car.

However, though time is such a precious commodity, hundreds of people across Burton and South Derbyshire still find hours to spare to volunteer for a variety of good causes.

As part of National Volunteer Week, charities across the area are shining a light on the good work undertaken by volunteers and urged others to consider ‘sparing a few minutes’ to help someone out.

St Giles Hospice, which has shops in High Street and Station Street, Burton, and Midland Road, Swadlincote, allows people to take on a variety of unpaid roles, ranging from washing up and gardening to bereavement support.

Many of St Giles’ helpers have come forward to lend their time after seeing a friend or loved one benefit from the services of the hospice, which provides care for people living with cancer and other serious illnesses in the area.

Joy Stewart, who volunteers as a receptionist at Compassus, St Giles’ inpatient centre at the Whittington-based hospice, said: “Nine years ago my husband Ian, aged 52, was admitted to St Giles.

“Sadly, he passed away a few days later. For the last eight years I have carried out voluntary work for St Giles as a ward receptionist, which is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

“It is the most wonderful place, where the love and smiles far outweigh the sadness.

“I can never repay the hospice for the way the staff cared for Ian and the compassion they showed to myself and my family, but I try to support St Giles wherever I can.

“In fact last year I asked my friends and family to donate to St Giles for my 60th birthday, and I raised more than £1,000.

“Volunteering is a great way to give something back.”

There are a huge variety of volunteering opportunities available at St Giles Hospice, including fund-raising, administration, chaplaincy, complementary therapy, flower arranging, transport, ward roles and laundry.

Peter Holliday, group chief executive for St Giles, said: “Our volunteers not only help us to care for more people with cancer and other serious illnesses, but also provide vital support for our hard-working staff.

“The hours they devote to St Giles are estimated to be worth more than £1 million to the charity every year.

“The contribution they make to the running of the hospice cannot be underestimated and I would like to offer my most heartfelt thanks for everything they do for us and our patients.”

Running until Saturday, the national week celebrates the contribution made by the millions of volunteers across the UK.

Alongside St Giles, the likes of British Heart Foundation, which has shops in Burton and South Derbyshire, and Rainbows Hospice, which cares for disabled youngsters in both areas, are also supporting the week of activity.

They are all urging people to get involved by agreeing to donate their time.

Whether it be 30 minutes a week or a few days each month, every little bit really does make a difference.

More information is available online at volunteersweek.org or by visiting www.stgileshospice.com/support_our_work/volunteers

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