Help Hove hospice – from flower arranging to playing video games

Ruoqi Li helps at the hospice's Western Road shop in her spare time
Ruoqi Li helps at the hospice's Western Road shop in her spare time

Sorting through clothes in the charity shop, creating beautiful bouquets for patients, and testing out video games are all ways volunteers play their part to help the Martlets Hospice.

To mark Volunteers’ Week, which runs for a week from Friday, June 1, the Hove hospice has thanked its 560 volunteers for their contribution.

Alex Mahoney tests games and consoles donated to the hospice shops

Alex Mahoney tests games and consoles donated to the hospice shops

Those giving up their time for free have spoken about what they do, and why they volunteer for Martlets.

Alex Mahoney, 19, is a keen gamer who spends two days a week testing donated computer games and checking games consoles for Martlets.

He said: “It’s probably one of the more unusual volunteering roles. However, we get all sorts of games and consoles donated to us and we need to know that they work before we can sell them on to raise money for the hospice.

“It’s great to be able to use my gaming knowledge in a good way to help a charity. It’s quite satisfying when you see something that you’ve worked on getting sold; you feel like you’ve helped out.

Bridget Westerman creates flower arrangements for patients

Bridget Westerman creates flower arrangements for patients

“Volunteering is helping me to gain experience of working and it’s shown me an area of work that I might like to try in the future, which I hadn’t thought of before. It’s also a lot of fun and the people here are very nice.”

Bridget Westerman, 74, has been volunteering for Martlets for 21 years. She visits the hospice once a week to create beautiful flower arrangements and table decorations for the patients and their visitors.

She said: “Sometimes we receive some large displays, so I make them into smaller arrangements to put in the public areas and the patients’ rooms.

“I often spend time talking with the patients; it’s really rewarding to feel that I might have cheered someone up with just a smile and a little chat.”

Ruoqi Li, 24, is studying for an MA in Corporate Risk and Financial Management at Sussex University and helps at the hospice’s Western Road shop in her spare time.

She said, “I wanted to make a difference to the lives of others and I thought that volunteering for a charity would be a good way to help the community.

“I’ve found it to be a valuable experience, since I’m learning how to deal with lots of different people and everyone’s been so nice.

“It’s been really easy to fit volunteering around my studies. My course finishes in September, but I shall continue to work with Martlets for as long as I live in Brighton.”

Imelda Glackin, the CEO of Martlets, said: “This year we’re celebrating the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways.

“At Martlets our volunteers are the absolute backbone of everything we do. They might be helping in our charity shops, at our warehouse, enthusiastically fundraising, supporting patients and their families or at the hospice itself.

“Some of our volunteers provide counselling and bereavement care, give complementary therapies and care for our patients in the community. They also assist our ward clerks, help in our offices, serve refreshments and look after our garden.

“In short, our volunteers play an essential part in the hospice care that we provide to patients and their families. We could not do what we do without their fantastic commitment and contribution. There are numerous roles that suit all kinds of people with many different skills, life experience and knowledge.

“Volunteers often say how rewarding the experience is for them. Friendships are made and it’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help people to gain valuable new skills and boost confidence.”

For further details on volunteering for Martlets, contact the hospice’s People Services Team on 01273 718788 or email peopleservices@martlets.org.uk

To find out more about Martlets Hospice, visit: www.themartlets.org.uk