'The Coffee Shop is a little oasis' - Hospice Care Week stories 2019

The Coffee Shop at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is run entirely by volunteers such as Marilyn and Liz and the funds it raises go towards supporting the expert and compassionate care at the hospice. To mark Hospice Care Week 2019, Marilyn and Liz tell us why they see the Coffee Shop as a 'little oasis' for visitors, families and patients.

Image of Marilyn and Liz volunteering at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice Coffee Shop

Marilyn Bodenham and Liz Hastings met and became firm friends 15 years ago while volunteering every Thursday in the Coffee Shop at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

Marilyn: “15 years ago, I retired from my job working for John Lewis and wanted to do something to help somebody. Volunteering in the Coffee Shop seemed like a good idea.”

Liz: “I’ve been ill myself – I’ve had breast cancer, so I thought volunteering here was a nice way of paying forward and helping out. I am retired and it’s nice to try and do what I can for other people. Volunteering at the hospice was the perfect solution.

“Marilyn and I met on our very first day here and have been friends ever since!

Marilyn: “We both do everything that’s required, from serving food and drinks to clearing the tables, doing hygiene certificates and cashing up. We’re a good team!”

'It’s a sanctuary... you can come here and know that everyone cares'

Liz: “I see the Coffee Shop as a little oasis. Particularly for people who are in the hospice visiting relatives; it’s a place where they can come and have a bit of a breather and a change of scenery. For example, if their loved one is having medical treatment this is somewhere nice they can come and relax.”

Marilyn: “It’s like a sanctuary; it’s so calming here. I think it is just what you need. You can come here and know that everyone cares.”

Liz: “A lot of the volunteers have personal experience of the hospice and of bereavement, so they understand and have empathy for people.”

'From celebrating birthdays to dog walkers - our regulars come here to raise funds for the hospice'

Liz: “We have a real mix of customers – including patients and their relatives, staff and volunteers, dog walkers, people celebrating birthdays and groups of friends. We have regulars who come in for a bite to eat or a drink and a chat.”

Marilyn: “Many of our regular customers like to come here instead of going elsewhere as it raises funds for the hospice.”

Liz: “There’s always something for everyone here. It’s very reasonably priced and we offer a variety of hot and cold food.

“Our hot food is freshly prepared by our hospice’s kitchen team and we always have a vegetarian and a meat dish. Today, for example, we have vegetarian stuffed peppers and a delicious chilli with rice. One of my favourite dishes on the menu is chicken in white wine sauce. We also do a dessert; last Thursday it was steamed treacle pudding with custard.”

Marilyn: “I like jacket potatoes with a filling and a salad from the salad bar. We also have a section where there’s a variety of cakes to choose from, as well as scones and teacakes. We prepare sandwiches with different fillings. In the morning you can have a toasted bacon sandwich. There’s also a selection of cold and hot drinks – including tea and coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos.”

'Volunteer for Sue Ryder is very rewarding'

Liz: “Volunteering for Sue Ryder is very rewarding and I feel I make a difference. What I like most about volunteering here is the comradeship. I also like the fact that through the Coffee Shop we are raising funds and it’s all going into Thorpe Hall Hospice.”

Marilyn: “We wouldn’t have volunteered for 15 years if we didn’t find it rewarding! It’s nice to know that what you are doing is helping someone somewhere.”

Although we come here and volunteer on a Thursday, we don’t just stop there. We try to spread the word about the hospice and what it does. My family and friends get involved too by bringing items to the hospice’s charity shop and taking coin collection boxes and filling them up.

Liz: “I feel the hospice is a place for anybody. It is universal; whatever your needs or beliefs it is there if you need it. It is a very peaceful place to come.

“The nurses and doctors are fantastic and tailor all of the treatments to each patient. We only hear praise for what they do. It’s a sad thing but it’s a happy place.”

Support Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice

Run entirely by volunteers, the Coffee Shop is open seven days a week from Monday to Friday 10am-2pm and Saturday to Sunday 11am-2pm. It is located at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, Longthorpe, Peterborough, PE3 6LW.

To find out more, please call 01733 225 900 or email thorpehall@sueryder.org.

View the variety of volunteering opportunities across our centres by visiting our volunteer opportunities.