Michael: “Volunteering is one of the best things you can do”

Michael Reynolds from Ramsgate volunteered within Pilgrims Hospices’ retail team from 2021-2022. He enjoyed his role at the Ramsgate shop, helping with the day-to-day operations that keep it running smoothly and provide an excellent experience for both customers and donors.

The Pilgrims team helped Michael to develop his skills, and he felt so supported that he ultimately found permanent employment as a Retail Supervisor at a local Morrisons Daily store.


The thank you card that Michael gave to the Ramsgate shop team when he left his volunteer role at Pilgrims

Michael shares how his volunteer role made a positive impact in his life and why others should get involved.

Michael’s mum, Sara, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and cared for by Pilgrims towards the end of her life.

Michael said: “Before I started volunteering, my mental health was not at its best. My mother passed away in 2019, after which I’d planned her funeral and had to try to find somewhere to live. I didn’t think I was ready for work, or even ready for anything. I’d barely had time to grieve.

“But I couldn’t stay at home, moping around. My friends had been so supportive but I needed to get out there.

“I heard that Pilgrims’ Ramsgate shop was looking for volunteers and decided to go for it. Pilgrims had been so wonderful and supported Mum and my family during her battle with cancer – some of the staff even attended her funeral. I wanted to give back however I could; volunteering seemed like a fantastic way to do that.

“When I started, I was very much “in my shell”, but over time I gained confidence. At the Ramsgate shop, I didn’t have colleagues, I had a family. I loved every moment. I operated tills, processed donations, priced them up and helped move furniture donations. I had a wonderful relationship with staff and customers alike and thoroughly enjoyed my time as a volunteer.”

It’s one of the best things you can do; you meet great new people, gain valuable experience, and develop truly helpful life skills. Volunteering is a crucial part of supporting your local community and the charity you are volunteering for.

Michael

Alex Hancock, Shop Manager, added:

“When Michael started with us, he was very shy. As time went on, his confidence grew. He was always very polite, helpful, and an absolute credit to the store. So many customers and volunteers would compliment his manners and courteousness. He became a real asset to the team, willing to step in at short notice if needed. I was delighted when Michael got the job at Morrisons Daily, but also gutted for the store as I knew we were losing a valuable part of the Ramsgate family. We wish him all the very best in his role and future career.”

And what would Michael tell someone who is considering volunteering for Pilgrims?

“It’s one of the best things you can do; you meet great new people, gain valuable experience, and develop truly helpful life skills. Volunteering is a crucial part of supporting your local community and the charity you are volunteering for. Never, ever, pass up the opportunity.

“By volunteering for Pilgrims, you become part of a family who all want to do right by the community. Pilgrims pulled me out of a depressed state and pushed me to do better for myself, and now I’m a Retail Supervisor.

“Give it a go. You won’t regret it!”


Inspired to become a Pilgrims’ volunteer?

Visit pilgrimshospices.org/volunteer and look out for more stories and information throughout Volunteers’ Week!


Volunteers’ Week celebrates the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the UK. The celebration starts on the first Monday in June every year. It’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole.


Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.