Volunteers' Week 2022 is here and it's a time to say thanks - and a time to recognise and celebrate the contribution of our volunteers to our communities. 

Over the past week, our Voluntary Services Department has been out and about to our shops and hospices, meeting with and celebrating our dedicated volunteers. Volunteers, just like Sean.

Sean has shared a glimpse inside his volunteering journey at Demelza:

“I became a volunteer with Demelza about four years ago, when I went from working full-time to part-time because I wanted an opportunity to give back to the community. I did my homework and had a think about a number of local charities that might be able to find a place for me, and in the end, Demelza’s mission just particularly resonated with me and I decided to get involved. I didn’t know exactly what I’d be good for, but thankfully as a bustling charity they always have jobs up for grabs – so the work I do is varied and interesting.

"I’ve done some admin work in the office alongside full-time Demelza staff, generally keeping the paperwork effort going. I learned quickly that Demelza is very conscientious about doing things right; which, on the practical side of things, means lots of processes to follow and paperwork to file! It’s maybe not glamorous, but getting these things done as a volunteer frees up time for staff to focus on the bigger picture, and helps protect children and their families who use Demelza’s services. You can’t undersell the importance of that.

"Another benefit of working in the hospice is that I get to see first-hand what a positive environment it is; you might have a preconception of a hospice being a very sad place, but actually there’s a really congenial air about the way the staff and volunteers of Demelza work alongside one another. It’s very clear that families are at the heart of everything they’re doing, and they’re all really pleased to be mucking in. As a volunteer, you’re treated as a vital part of the organisation and you’re always kept up-to-date on what’s going on – Mary, who heads up Practical Support, is great about organising volunteer conferences and making sure you feel involved."

Sean is standing outside the Millwall Football Stadium, wearing a Demelza t-shirt, holding a collection bucket.

Volunteering opportunities

"There are opportunities to attend exciting events, too – just the other day I was lucky enough to head to The Den for Millwall FC’s game against Peterborough, as Millwall were dedicating their matchday to raising funds for Demelza. My job was to don my Demelza kit and wade through the crowds, encouraging as many fans as I could to pop a pound or two in the donation bucket to help make a difference! It was a great experience and the atmosphere was electric; I really enjoyed that.

"I have done some driving for Demelza families in London as well, which is a bit like being a cabbie; you get a phone call letting you know who needs picking up, where they need to go, and at what time, and you just make sure you’re there on time in one of Demelza’s wheelchair-accessible vehicles (and try to avoid any parking restrictions!)."

"It’s a pleasure being a driver for Demelza"

"It’s a pleasure being a driver for Demelza because it’s not particularly time-consuming work – depending on demand you might not get any driving jobs for weeks – but when you do get the call, you know you’ll be taking a bit of pressure off a family who have a million other things to worry about. You might just be getting them to an annual hospital appointment, or dropping them at one of the hospices for a day of in-house care, but those are the kind of simple journeys that would be so much more difficult, if not impossible, without Demelza’s support. You do get to have a chat as well, and those little moments of human connection give you so much insight into how strong these families truly are and why Demelza’s work is so important.

"I’ve not done anything on the more practical side of things – cooking, DIY, that kind of thing – because I’m a danger to myself and others in those situations! However, I know that Demelza greatly needs more volunteers who can fill those gaps, so I’d recommend anyone who’s interested to get involved now. For just a few hours here and there, you can make a massive difference in the everyday lives of families who are going through something unimaginably difficult."

To Sean - and every one of our volunteers - thank you! We simply couldn't provide vital care and support to the families who need us most, without you.