Becca was just 13 years old, when St Joseph’s Hospice cared for her grandfather who had dementia and provided support to her mum through carers support group . Becca witnessed what a huge difference St Joseph’s Hospice made to her grandad and mum’s lives and she promised to herself that in the future she would find the ways to give back to the hospice.
In 2019 Becca got involved with Step Up project in Hackney that supports people to access volunteering as part of their mental health recovery and personal journey towards employment. The project coordinator showed Becca a list of different organisations she could volunteer with. When Becca saw St Joseph’s Hospice on that list, she did not hesitate; she knew right away that she wanted to volunteer at the hospice. It was her time to give back.
However, as Becca was going through the volunteer recruitment process, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Due to compromised health, Becca’s mum had to shield, and in order to protect her mum, Becca made a difficult decision to shield together. Isolation took toll on Becca’s mental health. St Joseph’s Volunteer’s Team continued to keep in touch throughout the pandemic. Becca says that weekly phone check-ins helped her to feel less isolated and firmed her determination to volunteer at St Joseph’s Hospice and in September 2021 she joined the hospice fundraising team.
Becca admits that as she did not have any previous fundraising experience, she felt rather anxious on her first volunteering day. However, she spoke with her supervisor Emma team who reassured that it was okay to feel the way Becca was feeling and that Becca can ask any member of the fundraising team for support.
Whilst volunteering, every week Becca was learning something new. As weeks passed, she was given new responsibilities, from tidying up collection tins, preparing fundraising packs, contacting supporters and clearing up the database. Indeed, Becca’s support for the fundraising team was much more than could be reasonably expected of anyone and her commitment and efforts were recognised by the hospice; Becca was rewarded with the Above and Beyond award.
Yet, Becca remains quite modest about her tremendous contribution: “It was nice to have responsibilities. Having been out of work for a long time, I finally felt stimulated. I was building a useful skillset and growing my confidence. I have to say, volunteering has also put me on the path of where I want to be in the future”.
For those who hesitate to start volunteering, Becca says: “You can learn new skills, gain experience and most important build your confidence. Everyone at the hospice is supportive and understanding. It feels okay not to be okay as no one judges you here. Indeed, volunteering can help people who are dealing with mental ill health. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house, meet new people and reduce your isolation. Just go for it. It is okay to feel anxious or not ready. Everyone is very supportive here. You never know where volunteering could lead to.” As for Becca, it led to being confident to apply for a paid fundraising role at St Joseph’s Hospice.