Celebrating Volunteering in 2019

In the latest volunteering blog, Bluebell Smith, Volunteer Manager for Healthcare and Fundraising, looks back over our volunteering achievements of 2019 and considers why December is an ideal time for both reflection and celebration. 

Four volunteers with tea cups from the Bury St. Edmunds Charity Shop
Volunteers Dennis, Louisa, Joyce and Marita at our Bury St Edmunds shop.

Time, empathy and love

December is one of the best months of the year for me. It’s a month of celebrating how far we’ve come, reflecting on everything we’ve learnt over the year, and reminding ourselves that some of the very best gifts we can give are time, empathy and love. 

2019 has seen some pretty spectacular achievements from volunteers at Sue Ryder, and when I asked the team to share their highlights with me I was heartened to have far too many to include in one blog post! It was lovely to hear staff from across the organisation speak so proudly and enthusiastically about the volunteers they work alongside. Here are just some of the responses I had:

  • 4,464 volunteers have joined us since April this year. 
  • A hospice volunteer was chosen as the winner of the national Sue Ryder Incredible Colleague the Year award. 
  • Life-saving CPR was performed by one volunteer to another (wow!)
  • Community Plus Volunteers have contributed around 2,500 volunteer hours at one of our neurological care centres. 
  • One volunteer raised over £20,000 in Sue Ryder lottery ticket sales and another group raised £20,000 hosting a summer fete.
  • 1,157,503 hours have been volunteered across our charity shops, helping generate £38,239,849.62.
  • Fundraising volunteers have flown on the wings of planes, run marathons and even trekked the Sahara desert for us!

As you can see, we’ve been gifted an immense amount of time, empathy and love from volunteers throughout the year. At Sue Ryder, we’re there for people when it matters. Our services run 365 days a year, and the unwavering kindness of our volunteers is a big part of making that happen. In lots of cases, we simply couldn’t do it without them.

A sense of community

The lovely thing about volunteering is it really is mutually beneficial. For many people, for many reasons, Christmas can be a tough time, and I know from personal experience that volunteering can really transform things. It gives you a sense of community, family even. It makes you feel connected. 

So, to our befrienders who make sure people don’t feel lonely over Christmas, to our charity shop volunteers who keep the doors open until 1pm on Christmas Eve, to our maintenance volunteers who come and grit the paths at the hospices so visitors can come over the festive season, thank you. You’re our heroes.

Interested in becoming part of our team? We have plenty of information about volunteering with Sue Ryder and you can search for local volunteer opportunities near you, too!

Bluebell Smith (Author Photograph)
Bluebell Smith

Bluebell Smith is Sue Ryder's Volunteer Manager for Healthcare and Fundraising.