Volunteers' Week 2020: Niamh's virtual volunteering story

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering and a chance for us to say a big 'thank you' to all those who support Sue Ryder. One of our new 'virtual volunteers, Niamh shares her story of supporting our existing retail volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Image of Sue Ryder volunteer, Niamh, standing at a lake beside a mountain range

24-year-old Niamh Boylan from Leeds has been volunteering with Sue Ryder during the UK coronavirus lockdown as she has been furloughed from her job in PR and marketing.

'Sue Ryder has a very special place in my heart'

“My mum spent her last days in Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Keighley and we had a lot of support from the team there when I was a child. Sue Ryder has a very special place in my heart and I’ve always wanted to do some volunteering, but I’ve never had enough spare time.”

During her time as a volunteer, Niamh has contacted over 100 of Sue Ryder’s volunteers, as part of a wider exercise in which the volunteering team spoke to over 1,500 Sue Ryder volunteers across the UK. 

“Having worked in PR and marketing for a while now, I understand the importance of communication. And with all of the Sue Ryder charity shops having to unfortunately temporarily close, communication has become more critical than ever."

"I wanted to help reassure volunteers that they play an absolutely essential role in the day to day running of the charity and that they’re fully supported in these unprecedented times.”

Supporting the charity’s Volunteer Database Officer, Chris, Niamh has been helping to keep volunteers engaged and up-to-date with key changes within the charity.

As part of this, she’s been checking in with volunteers over the phone, ensuring that vulnerable team members have the support that they need and adding willing volunteers to the Sue Ryder newsletter mailing list.

She has also been working with Lead Volunteers during lockdown in progressing their roles to become Senior Lead Volunteers, including signing them up to the Sue Ryder eLearning portal, where they can undertake a series of training modules to allow them to take on higher responsibilities within the charity shops, including health and safety, GDPR and Gift Aid training. 

“Although it’s been scary, being furloughed from my full-time job has finally given me the opportunity to make use of my newfound free time to help others. I’d thoroughly encourage anyone who has considered doing some volunteering before to take advantage of this time to do some good.”

Thank you to all our volunteers

Taking place 1 - 7 June ever year, Volunteers' Week is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK, including the thousands who support Sue Ryder across our hospices, neurological centres, charity shops and in the local community.

Find out more about volunteering with Sue Ryder.