We provide Hospice care & support to patients and their loved ones living in Kent and East Sussex. Discover how we can help you.
Here, our dedicated team of Hospice Ambassadors tell us why they volunteer their time to spread the word about the Hospice’s work in the local area.
“It has been eight years since my wife was admitted to the Hospice. Shortly before my wife died, she asked if my choir, the Tunbridge Wells Orpheus Male Voice Choir, would hold a concert to raise funds as a way of thanking the Hospice for all it had done for her.
I planned the concert alongside a member of the Hospice’s fundraising team, who asked me what I had done before retiring. When I told her I had been a training manager at a care association, she said I would make an ideal ambassador, and that’s how it started and how I was introduced to the Hospice officially.
“I began to appreciate how much work goes into organising events and programmes, and I think it’s important that when someone has worked so hard to raise money for the Hospice that it is properly represented at the event and thanks the individual, family or team for their dedication.”
“I find it fascinating meeting the various people who are raising funds and I think it is important that the Hospice has a face.
I’ve represented the Hospice and given talks at schools, concerts, women’s institutes, scout clubs and a variety of other events that keep my life interesting. I’m loving every minute.
I would encourage anyone touched by the Hospice to go a step further and contribute their skills. Indeed, my simple goal was to say thank you to the Hospice for everything it has done for my family. It’s been an exciting and fascinating journey.”
“I’d been working as a volunteer in the Hospice garden when I was approached to be an ambassador. I was invited to a meeting, received some training and things progressed from there.
People like being outside. Being in the garden is liberating, as is being in nature. People come out into the garden to talk, so I tell myself I am not a gardener, I’m an ambassador and I’m here to listen.
I believe conversation happens more naturally in the garden. There is always something to look at so conversation can develop without eye contact having to be made. Our new sculpture, ‘The Rhythm of Life’, is a great place to sit because people can focus on that. All I have to do is listen and empathise.”
“I find people open up more in the garden about who they’re visiting and why they’re there. Sometimes there are tears – we are really on the front line of talking to people.
I have experience as a teaching assistant and school counsellor, so I know communication and listening are key. It’s so important to be there for the husband, wife, relative or friend. I will always be grateful to the Hospice for guiding my family and me when we needed support.
I’d suggest that if anyone is even slightly interested in becoming an ambassador then to come along and see what it’s like.”
“The Hospice was there for my mum, my siblings and me, from the very day that Mum received her diagnosis. Alongside my brother and sister, we wanted to help Mum fulfil her wish that she never had to go into hospital, but we couldn’t have achieved that without the help of the Hospice.
I promised my mum I would do all I could to repay the Hospice for the care and help we were given and started volunteering. I work at least one day a week in the fundraising department and I help out at events too.
I was asked if I wanted to be an Ambassador because I enjoy talking to people. Most of my volunteer work at the Hospice involves speaking on the phone. For example, I spoke to almost everyone who had signed up for the Moonlight Walk ahead of the event. l also call people to thank them for donations.”
“Last year, I did a reading at the carol concert; I’d never spoken in front of that many people before but really enjoyed it and it was from that point that I decided to become an Ambassador.
I have attended events and told people my story, outlining what the Hospice does and how much money it needs to carry on providing the sort of care and support which my mum and family received.
I’m semi-retired now with a view to retiring fully next year and dedicating more time to my role as an Ambassador because I love it so much. To be honest, whenever I work for the Hospice, I feel like my mother is sitting on my shoulder. This is my attempt to keep the memory of mum alive especially because she asked me to repay the Hospice in any way that I could.”
“The Hospice was very kind to me and helped me when my husband was in the last stages of his life and now I want to make a difference and do something that is going to positively impact other people’s lives.
I previously knew very little about hospices but have discovered the Hospice gives you hope. It helps you develop a manageable lifestyle and provides tonnes of support from all sorts of people, including counselling after the person has died.
There are many misconceptions about what a hospice is. It is much more than an extension of a person’s life; it adds value and makes the last few days, weeks or months so much better. The Hospice brings family together in an environment that is joyful and where memories can be made.”
“Being an ambassador is a fabulous role. I love going out and talking to people about all the good work the Hospice does. I get a buzz from helping people and being part of raising awareness and telling others how they can help too. I am also proud of helping to arrange an event to promote the launch of the new Children’s Service, which has certainly touched a lot of people’s hearts.
Anybody can be an Ambassador, as long as you listen, understand and relate to other people’s feeling, as well as being able to relay information to an audience. It’s hugely rewarding and you get to meet lots of interesting people too.”
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