Juanetta Paizes has been volunteering with Pilgrims Hospices for two years. With a background in banking and working with people, she now helps out weekly as a Pilgrims Hospices Lottery Collector and in Pilgrims Frocks and Stocks vintage retro shop in Burgate Canterbury.
I’m from South Africa and my first experience of hospice care was when an aunt of mine received care. It was so important to her that she could be looked after with her family around her and the hospice gave her that. Plus plenty of kindness, caring: with soft hands and soft voices. That experience inspired me to get involved myself.
My aunt received kindness, caring: with soft hands and soft voices. That inspired me to get involved.
I was surprised at how similar the set up for hospice care is in the UK to South Africa when I moved here. The teams have the same way of seeing people and taking care of them as individuals and that’s lovely.
Lottery supporters become friends
We try to extend that approach as Lottery collectors. I have been doing the Chartham round for Pilgrims Hospices Lottery for a while now, collecting people’s weekly membership payments from them every five weeks.
It’s good for people who aren’t able to get out – they may be housebound – and for people who prefer working with cash. But it’s more than that. The people on my round have become friends. We stop and have a chat and I think people enjoy that.
Obviously some people take part in our lottery because of the chance of winning, but a number of people I’ve seen win a prize then give their winning cheque back to the hospice.
There’s an element of fun too, and the lottery community all seem to be aware of the fact that they are supporting the hospice while they play.
Hospice shops attract a range of customers
In the same way, I love the interaction with customers in our shop. Being a vintage shop we get in some truly special stock with a real history and I love to see the styles of the people buy the vintage clothing as they dress so well!
We get a really diverse group of shoppers too, which keeps things fresh. Some people who come in don’t realise it’s a charity shop and are surprised when explain what it’s about, then we have a lot of regular supporters who come and do their shopping with us because they want to help the hospice. Of course we get people attracted by the stock and quite a lot of tourists. I also enjoy the students coming in to volunteer and get experience for their CVs – it all makes a difference.
There’s an element of fun with the hospice lottery and a strong sense of community.
I try to tell everyone who comes in about our range of services. Including Pilgrims Caring Clearance Service. It can be difficult when faced with the need to clear someone’s personal possessions from their home.
Pilgrims’ team of sensitive staff are now on hand to help you deal with this responsibility and decide what to do with unwanted items. They will help pack and take any items that can be re-loved and sold in Pilgrims shops, or sent to auction to raise vital funds for hospice care.
The team goes in and works closely with each person to clear the house and then any items that can be sold are taken for the hospice. I was in that position myself once and I wish I had been able to have that support. They put the person at the heart of that service which is very, very important.
There’s so much the hospice can do
I still find people are always surprised at the range of support Pilgrims offers to people. I think together we need to get the word out that as well as coming for end of life care, people at earlier stage in an incurable illness can also come here to do a lot of living.
It’s not a service that’s only for older people either, it’s for anyone in that situation and the care is adapted to your needs. I hope by talking about the support that’s out there we can start some ripples so more people get the help they need.
Every hour and every minute of volunteering for Pilgrims Hospices is hugely valued and goes a long way for the people needing our care.
Our volunteers play a part in every aspect of life in our hospices. They offer support, skills, kindness and care. They raise money, and can be a friendly face helping in our shops or working on our receptions. By generously giving their time, volunteers support our staff as they work to provide the outstanding levels of care for which we are well known.
If reading about Pilgrims huge community of volunteers has inspired, find out more about our current volunteering opportunities. You can also download our fundraising pack here.