When Joyce Allaf retired from primary school teaching she knew she wanted to keep making a difference. Here, Joyce explains how she uses her professional experience and hands-on skills as a Pilgrims volunteer in Ashford.
“When I retired I wanted to do something that gave me a sense of purpose – to fill the gap of leaving teaching and to save myself from daytime TV.
“I had known about Pilgrims Hospices for a long time as my friend worked for them, so I decided to become a volunteer and applied through the website,” explains Joyce.
A few weeks later, Joyce was signed up to Pilgrims’ induction programme and since that day in March 2016 she hasn’t looked back.
“The things I do are really varied and it’s very satisfying. Not long after I became a volunteer, I was asked if I could help with the Volunteers’ Induction Training. For the past year, I’ve been introducing new volunteers to Pilgrims. My teaching experience has come in really good use!”
As well as helping new volunteers find their feet, Joyce is also a Pilgrims Ambassador. She regularly visits businesses, clubs and societies to meet people who have fundraised and thank them for their support. Joyce uses this as another opportunity to spread the word about what Pilgrims does for people with life-limiting illnesses in the community, as well as the hospices.
“Everyone I talk to about Pilgrims is amazed at what the charity does. It’s a real eye-opener for the fundraisers I meet as an Ambassador and the new volunteers I meet.”
I’m called upon lots and get all sorts of opportunities… I think it’s a great place to volunteer because there’s such a variety of things you can do, there’s something for everyone.
Joyce Allaf, Pilgrims’ Volunteer
“Before I joined as a volunteer I thought people went to Pilgrims to die. That view has changed absolutely loads. The fact there are 350 or more people being cared for in different ways in the community is incredible. I didn’t know any of that when I first joined.”
Joyce says she finds it hard to say ‘no’ when asked to lend a hand and also gets involved in Pilgrims different fundraising events. Most recently, she helped to wrap 3,500 slices of cake for the Cycle Challenge feeding stations.
“I’m called upon lots and get all sorts of opportunities. It sounds like I do a lot, but I only volunteer for a few hours a week and those few hours can go a long way.”
Joyce says that she’d encourage anyone thinking about becoming a Pilgrims volunteer to give it a go. Over the past two years, she has made new friends, been to new places and learned plenty of new things.
“I think it’s a great place to volunteer because there’s such a variety of things you can do, there’s something for everyone. There are hairdressers, receptionists, beauticians, gardeners. What’s great is that everyone is equally valued, no matter what they’re doing.”