It goes without saying that volunteer support is essential in running any local charity, but particularly for Paul Sartori Hospice at Home. Volunteers really are at the heart of what the charity does and make a big difference. The charity has volunteers in all areas of the organisation such as admin, events, fundraising, clinical and retail. The charity operates 10 charity shops in the county, known as ‘Sartori Stores’, and relies on its pool of volunteers to assist in generating vital income to support its clinical services.
Paul Sartori Hospice at Home has experienced many challenges over the past 24 months, with its Sartori Stores going through difficult times – closing, opening and closing again, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time the Stores also witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help and assist. Also all other areas of volunteering were affected with many volunteers unable to carry out their volunteer roles due to restrictions.
In 2021, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home were awarded £29,814.00 through the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant Scheme. The charity was awarded this grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project. The aim being to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income to support the clinical services – 46 new volunteers were recruited during the project, and many received new training. The training developed in collaboration with PCC Learning Pembrokeshire included Manual Handling; Safeguarding; Health & Safety and Customer Service. This training has not only been useful in preparing volunteers for their roles, but alongside the experience it has equipped these individuals with useful transferable skills.
The project also aimed to increase community engagement and opportunities to connect people. Open days were held at various Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire and new social events were organised including a Car Treasure Hunt, Beach Walks and more recently an online quiz. These events have offered volunteers the opportunity to come together, often for the first time since COVID, and meet other like-minded members from across the organisation – encouraging connection and a sense of place.
Eleanor Evans, the Volunteering Officer, was recruited to coordinate the project and undertook this role initially on a secondment basis leaving a store management post in the Sartori Store in Fishguard. This project, has without a doubt, enabled the charity to reflect on the importance of supporting volunteers in their roles. The Paul Sartori Board of Trustees have now agreed to continue Eleanor’s employment post-funding. This significant step for the charity highlights the importance of sustaining and enhancing its volunteer structure, which has taken various guises over the years and has previously been funded via the WCVA Volunteering Wales grant.
Eleanor has a wealth of experience, not only within the charity but also working alongside volunteers and is looking forward to her permanent role in helping to manage the 100s of volunteers who give their time generously to support the charity in various roles. She will be focusing on a number of initiatives for the benefit of volunteers which will include the development of a new Volunteering Strategy, a new yearly Volunteer Event Programme and new training opportunities.
“I was delighted to meet members of Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, along with Kevin Shales, Community Development Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council and present the plaque recognising the funding from the PCC Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant,” said Thomas Tudor, County Councillor, adding “I would like to thank the volunteers and staff for their dedication in helping to provide much needed services in our community.”
“Recruitment has been challenging during the pandemic but people are now starting to feel comfortable with volunteering again. Currently we are very keen to recruit volunteers for our stores in Bridge Street, Haverfordwest and Tenby. We offer training for all volunteer roles. We hope to organise some try out days in our stores in the near future to offer a taster session of volunteering to all who are interested. I thoroughly enjoy working with all our fantastic volunteers without whom we would not be able to generate funds for our clinical services,” said Eleanor.
Paul Sartori Hospice at Home is keen to welcome new volunteers. A small amount of time can make such a big difference. Benefits of becoming a volunteer are unlimited but can include meeting new people, gaining and increasing confidence and enhancing and developing new skills. Volunteers are encouraged to share the core values of the charity: Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.
If you, or somebody you know is interested in volunteering, please contact Eleanor: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01437 763223, or look at our website for more information on roles and locations throughout Pembrokeshire. Click here: https://paulsartori.org/volunteering-areas/