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Ashgate Hospice has always held a special place in volunteer Lucy Doe’s heart after the ‘incredible’ care her grandad received when she was younger.
And last year, the charity was there to help her get back on her feet, giving her ‘a sense of purpose’ after she was sadly made redundant at the height of the pandemic.
Now, after starting an engineering apprenticeship in September, the 21-year-old continues to fit volunteering as an Inpatient Unit Assistant around her new job and enjoys supporting patients and families by delivering their meals and making them hot drinks.
Lucy, from Matlock, was just 12 when her granddad, Michael Doe, died on the Inpatient Unit aged 73, but she’ll always remember how comfortable the warm and loving staff made him and his family.
Her experiences of being at Ashgate with her grandad motivate Lucy to provide the best support she can to patients and families who are going through the same thing she did back in 2012.
“After the incredible care my grandad received, volunteering at Ashgate was something I always wanted to do but I thought I’d struggle to fit it in around work,” said Lucy, who is sharing her story for Volunteers Week, which takes place between June 1 and 7.
“Last summer I was made redundant from my full-time job due to COVID and I was looking for something to keep myself occupied and give me a sense of purpose.
“Since joining I’ve loved every moment. It’s such a great place to volunteer your time. Everyone is so friendly, and the team makes you feel very welcome. It doesn’t feel like going to work at all. For me it is a breath of fresh air at the end of my working week.
“I enjoy getting to spend time with patients and hearing their stories – it’s always a great feeling when you go back for your shift a week later and the same patients remember you despite the amount of people who work at Ashgate!”
Despite working during the pandemic, Lucy insists she felt safer on Ashgate’s Inpatient Unit than in her local supermarket and was proud to be able to do her bit in the response to COVID-19.
She urges anyone thinking about volunteering at Ashgate Hospice to ‘go for it’ – insisting it’s one of the best decisions she ever made.
She added: “Volunteering at Ashgate Hospice gives you a huge sense of achievement. It is a fantastic feeling to give something back and make a difference to people’s lives in a small way.
“It’s lovely to meet new people and have a chat with both patients and employees at the hospice. It’s also a great opportunity to get out of the house and do something to help the community!
“For anyone thinking of volunteering I would have to say to go for it and give it a try. You don’t have to commit hours of your time; it could just be an hour and a half out of your week.
“Whatever time you can offer will make a massive difference to families – like it did for mine – when they need it most.”
From supporting patients on the Inpatient Unit to helping fund the care in the charity’s shops – there are plenty of different volunteering opportunities at Ashgate to choose from.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Ashgate Hospice team as a volunteer can find out more here. Alternatively, email email@example.com or call 01246 568801.