The power of volunteering

Bluebell Smith, Volunteer Manager for Healthcare and Fundraising, discusses how volunteering has shaped her life, the friends she has made, the enduring reminder this has given her of the kindness of others and the amazing work of our volunteers.

A volunteer serving a customer in a Sue Ryder charity shop

A constant reminder of the kindness of people

Volunteering has shaped so much of my life. I've been volunteering since I was 16 and my life has been immeasurably richer for it. It's given me some of the best friends a person could wish for, the experience I needed to do a job I love, perspective about how incredibly fortunate I am, and a constant reminder of the kindness of people. 

I started as Volunteer Manager for Healthcare and Fundraising at Sue Ryder six months ago, and in that time we've come a long way! We’re setting up new projects and using new technology; we’re increasing communications and building campaigns, and we’re growing our learning and development offer for volunteers and those who work alongside them. In my next blog I’ll tell you a little more about the steps we’ve taken so far and the strides we plan to take in the future. But today I want to take a moment to simply appreciate our wonderful volunteers.  

Special moments

I’ve found it really difficult to put down in words exactly what it is that make volunteers at Sue Ryder so special. I think the easiest way to explain is by telling you about a volunteer I met recently who comes into one of our hospices every week to do activities, like manicures or board games, on the ward.

When I asked her why she volunteers for Sue Ryder, she told me that recently, a patient had come and found her to say thank you for such a lovely day. Moments like that are what make it worthwhile for her. As is often the case with volunteers, she didn’t see how quite amazing this was.

A Scrabble board with game in process

In big and small ways our volunteers change people’s lives for the better every day

Our volunteers help to make it a lovely day. Honestly, it gives me goosebumps to think about this. People who come to our hospices are going through the most difficult times of their lives and our volunteers help to make their days actively lovely. That’s the power of volunteers – using kindness and generosity to turn what could be the worst day, into a genuinely lovely one.

Volunteers are part of everything we do at Sue Ryder. Thousands of volunteers share their skills, time and compassion with us every single week. In big and small ways they change people’s lives for the better every day, and for that, I’m sure you’ll agree we’re very lucky.

Volunteer with us

We have a wide range of roles available across our palliative and neurological centres, as well as our network of charity shops. 

Search for an opportunity near you.

Bluebell Smith (Author Photograph)
Bluebell Smith

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