Q & A WITH LEAH POPPY – HOW VOLUNTEERING CHANGED MY LIFE
“Now that I work here, I can see how hospice care makes a difference to people’s lives” - Leah.
Volunteers’ Week takes place 1-7 June every year, offering a great opportunity for anybody who has ever considered volunteering at ellenor to find out more.
24 year old Leah Poppy’s journey with ellenor first began when she visited her beloved Aunt Mary, in our hospice. Following Mary’s death, Leah went on to take up the challenge of volunteering, and today she works full-time as an ellenor Area Fundraiser for Gravesham and Maidstone. Here, Leah reflects on what volunteers can bring to ellenor – and on the wealth of experiences that volunteering with ellenor can provide.
What made you want to volunteer at ellenor?
Seeing the palliative nursing team care for my aunt, and the kindness they showed both in looking after her and in helping our whole family through an extremely tough time, really stayed with me. I wanted to give something back.
What do you think volunteers get from working with ellenor?
The sense of satisfaction in supporting a great cause like ellenor, the buzz you get from it, is something that’s hard to match elsewhere – you know you really are making a difference! Volunteers gain from being a part of a wider ellenor community, meeting and working with people with a vast range of experiences and from vastly diverse backgrounds. Plus volunteers can learn valuable practical skills – budgeting and events organising or admin work, for instance – that they can take with them later into the professional sphere. I found as an ellenor volunteer that I could play to my existing strengths while developing ones I never knew I had, too!
What sort of jobs can volunteers do?
Everything that enables ellenor to deliver care and support both to patients facing life-limiting conditions and their families. This could be anything from working on reception, helping with admin or in the laundry at our hospice to driving people to appointments, raising funds or helping out at charity events and in our shops.
Is there a particular role you enjoyed doing most as a volunteer?
I loved helping out at bucket collections across Kent and hearing people’s stories - just knowing that every penny going into the bucket is going to support a great cause made me smile.
I’m young so the world of work is fairly new to me, and, looking back, it never occurred to me then that volunteering would be my path into working in hospice care professionally. Volunteering showed me that, although the work at ellenor can be challenging, ultimately it is so, so worthwhile. That’s why it offers such a brilliant sense of satisfaction.
And finally, tell us how you became a fundraiser?
Having gained experience in my voluntary role, I knew ellenor was somewhere I wanted to work permanently. When the position of Area Fundraiser came up, I was well placed to apply and I’ve been working h ere for over a year now. I work in a hugely busy marketing and fundraising team with lovely people, working with staff and volunteers to encourage local businesses, individuals and organisations to run fundraising events to support ellenor. Would I want to be doing something else? Certainly not at the moment - I love it here! I know the whole team – whether employees or volunteers – makes a real difference, every day. That’s true job satisfaction.
If you would like to join our team as an ellenor volunteer, please visit our website to find out more: https://ellenor.org/volunteer