A Wortley woman is encouraging people to take up volunteering at the hospice which cared for her husband at the end of his life.
Pamela Boyd, 76, from Wortley was inspired to volunteer for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley to give back for the expert palliative care and support she and her husband received in 2007.
She is now encouraging people to volunteer ahead of Volunteers Week, which runs 1-7 June.
“I was so appreciative of the care he received, and the hospice was such a big help to me during a very traumatic part of my life,” says Pamela.
“The following year I got to a point where I knew I needed to do something, and after retiring I needed a purpose in my life. I saw that they were looking for volunteers at Wheatfields and it was exactly what I was looking for.”
Pamela has now been volunteering at the hospice for almost 15 years, and spends one day a week assisting hospice staff by providing them with administration support.
“I ran a school office at a large comprehensive school for about 20 years, so I have strong skills which I have been able to apply to my volunteering role. For most of my time here I have worked with the volunteer co-ordinator, but I have also supported the day therapy unit and inpatient unit too.
“I’ve been here long enough now that if anyone needs some extra support then they know they can call on me to help! I like it as I’d rather be busy and helping here than sitting alone at home twiddling my thumbs.”
Pamela says people might think volunteering for a hospice would be a difficult thing to do, but she’s found it to be an uplifting experience which has brought her many benefits.
She said: “People often say to me that it’s very good of me to volunteer, but I don’t feel like that as it’s a two-way thing and I think I get out of it as much, if not more, than I put in.
“Some people might not feel comfortable going back to the place where their loved one has died, but I don’t feel like that at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. In fact, when I was able to come back and start volunteering again after coronavirus restrictions had eased, walking through the door felt just like coming home. It was so nice to be back and to see all the friends I have made through volunteering too.”
Pamela hopes that by sharing her experience of volunteering at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice she can encourage others to volunteer.
“I would encourage anyone to try volunteering. People probably don’t realise that it’s a two-way thing – and you can get so much out of it.
“Everyone here is so appreciative of every little thing you do, and I get so much satisfaction from doing something that I know really makes a difference. Volunteering gives you a sense of worth and a better outlook on life.
“Most people don’t know what happens at a hospice until unfortunately they have to go there, which is usually for something upsetting. But it’s such a warm environment and every single person here looks out for not just the patients, but for the whole family too. You have to be a special type of person to work in a hospice – I think they are the best of people.”
Sue Ryder has a number of volunteering opportunities at shops across Leeds and at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. To find out more about opportunities near you visit their website.