Saint Catherine’s wishes to thank all of its volunteers – old and new – this Volunteers’ Week from June 1 to 7.
With more than 500 volunteers across the organisation, Saint Catherine’s has an incredible amount of support in many different areas, such as charity shops, reception, fundraising support groups, bereavement support and much more.
If paid, the contribution that volunteers make towards the charity would come to well over £1 million a year.
The past year has been an exceptionally difficult time for all charities – and Saint Catherine’s is no exception. Despite restrictions placed on everyone’s lives due to COVID restrictions, certain volunteering activities have been able to continue and have made a huge difference to our local community.
For example, Saint Catherine’s volunteers were drafted in to act as volunteer marshals at the COVID vaccination centre at Scarborough Rugby Club, playing a key part in the vaccination effort.
Volunteers have also returned where possible across the charity’s 11 shops, adapting to new methods of working with PPE and COVID safety guidelines.
The board of trustees, who govern Saint Catherine’s, are also volunteers and give their time freely.
Mike Wilkerson, chief executive at Saint Catherine’s, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of our volunteers for the amazing contribution that they make to the charity. We simply could not do what we do without them.
“It has been such a difficult year and we have missed being able to see all of our volunteers, but we are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back when it’s safe to do so.”
If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Saint Catherine’s, please go to www.saintcatherines.org.uk/Volunteer/ or call (01723) 351421.
There are currently vacancies for shop volunteers, a volunteer eBay assistant and a volunteer van driver. More details about the eBay and van driver roles can be found here www.saintcatherines.org.uk/Vacancies/
The following volunteers have shared their experiences during Volunteers’ Week:
Mike and Jill Gould – vaccine volunteers, Scarborough
Mike and Jill Gould, of Seamer, started their roles as vaccine volunteers in March, after Saint Catherine’s was invited to provide volunteer marshals for the COVID vaccination centre at Scarborough Rugby Club.
Jill said: “We wanted to feel useful and be able to help out. This was a way of giving back and we’re both retired, so we had the time. Everyone has been so friendly and everybody seems to really enjoy it.”
Mike added: “There’s been a really positive atmosphere and people are certainly very appreciative. When people have walked away after having their vaccine, they’ve thanked you for what you’re doing. To get that appreciation and feedback is great.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s never felt like a chore. I would definitely recommend volunteering.”
Jill added: “It’s nice to get out and meet other people from different walks of life and see how everyone is doing. I really enjoy being a part of it.”
Jane Welford – Whitby shop volunteer
Jane Welford, of Whitby, is coming up to her 30th year as a volunteer at the Saint Catherine’s shop in Whitby.
Jane, 73, said: “It all started after speaking to other volunteers and I decided to get in touch.
“I really enjoy it, especially the variety and meeting different people. We get to know our customers and it’s nice when they come and chat to you.
“Now the shops have reopened, people are coming back in and saying it’s nice to see you after such a long time!”
Before she retired, Jane used to work in retail and says she enjoys sorting stock, serving customers and working on the till.
She added: “My favourite part is meeting people and doing whatever needs doing. Saint Catherine’s is such as marvellous organisation and we need to do all we can to bring the funds in.”
Moira Cooper – bereavement volunteer, Scarborough (covering all areas)
Moira Cooper came to Saint Catherine’s on a placement as part of her degree in Counselling Studies – and enjoyed it so much she decided to volunteer afterwards.
Moira is a bereavement support volunteer and has continued to support people by providing counselling and a listening ear all the way through the pandemic, via video calls and telephone.
She said: “It has worked really well – I can see the clients and get a good rapport with them on the screen. We would usually meet face to face, but it’s been brilliant to be able to continue during the pandemic.
“The clients I’ve had have been so interesting and people are very grateful. When I hear them say it’s helped them massively, it’s very, very rewarding.”
Moira added: “The hospice environment is a lovely place to work. It’s a privilege to be part of it. Everyone cares so much about what they do and they’re so committed. I know the patients and families feel that too.”
Moira has been a bereavement volunteer for six years and would encourage anyone who has the time to think about volunteering.
Mike Smith – Driffield shop volunteer
Mike Smith, a retired retail manager, has been volunteering at the Driffield shop for around 18 months.
Mike, 70, of Hutton Cranswick, wanted to support Saint Catherine’s as his brother was cared for at the hospice in 2015.
He said: “It’s good to get out and meet people and enjoy the social side of it. Having a chat with people and being on friendly terms is really nice.”
Mike enjoys putting his retail experience to good use helping with sorting through donations, merchandising, pricing and serving customers on the till.
He said: “I find volunteering very rewarding and would thoroughly recommend it. It’s great to feel part of the charity and the team.”
Caroline Jackson – Driffield shop volunteer
Caroline Jackson has been volunteering at the Driffield shop since 2017 when she retired from her role as a safety officer in the fire service.
Caroline, 61, of Hutton Cranswick, says that even before then, she always enjoyed coming into the shop as a customer because of the friendly atmosphere.
She said: “I love every minute of being here. We all look after each other like a family. We get on so well and all have the same aim – and we love chatting to the customers!
“I get such satisfaction every time I put something in the till as I know it’s something more for the hospice.”
Caroline says she would encourage everyone to volunteer as it’s so rewarding and good fun being part of a team.
She added: “When I walk out of the shop I always feel like I’ve done something good today.”
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