Val Chaffer from Aldington, Ashford chose to volunteer for Pilgrims Hospices after her husband, Doug, was cared for by the charity. Here, she shares what she loves about volunteering and why she thinks others should get involved.
During his illness, Doug attended gym sessions and benefitted from complementary therapies at the Ashford hospice. Doug and Val also attended patient and carer groups together, and Val found carer days very helpful, too.
Now, Val volunteers at the Ashford hospice. She has a regular shift at Time to Create art and craft sessions in the Therapy Centre and also helps out on reception and at fundraising events. She said: “When I had my induction tour of the hospice, so many people remembered me. It was lovely. It’s such a happy place and almost an extension of my family now.”
People can be themselves here. For an afternoon they’re not really a patient; they can put their illness in the background. It’s such an enjoyable place to volunteer.
Val has always enjoyed all forms of craft, so volunteering at Time to Create groups is a natural role for her. She said: “People can be themselves here. For an afternoon they’re not really a patient; they can put their illness in the background. It’s such an enjoyable place to volunteer. It also inspires me to think of different creative projects to do with patients – so far, we’ve made cross stitch bookmarks, cards, patchwork baskets and weaved cards with ribbon. We’ve also done some flower arranging, which is really lovely.”
Val loves volunteering at Pilgrims and believes that others will, too.
She added: “It’s such a good thing to do, you make such a positive difference to patients and their families. It helps me a lot, being able to give back to the charity that supported Doug and I at a very difficult time. If you’re thinking about volunteering for Pilgrims, do it!”
Inspired to become a Pilgrims’ volunteer?
Visit pilgrimshospices.org/volunteer and look out for more stories and information throughout Volunteers’ Week!
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Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
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