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Volunteers urged to sign up for hospice

Businesses across Milton Keynes have been carrying out vital work to help Willen Hospice behind the scenes, particularly in its retail outlets.

Volunteers from local companies have been carrying out tasks ranging from sorting donations to merchandising stores. In the past year alone, 93 volunteers have given up 425 hours in total, representing significant cost savings for the hospice.

“When the public kindly donate goods to us, we can only resell these items as fast as we can sort and process them on to our shop floor,” says associate director of commercial Mark Rawlins. “Volunteers are invaluable. Businesses tell us that their colleagues find volunteering helpful in getting to know each other outside of work. It is a chance for them to develop a range of leadership and problem-solving skills in a neutral environment.”

Often, having seen at first hand the challenges facing the hospice, businesses find other ways to give support – donating their end of line stock, nominating Willen Hospice as their chosen charity, match funding or sponsoring events.

A team from IT distributor Ingram Micro pictured in Milton Keynes volunteered in the Willen Hospice Grafton Gate Clearance Store. Network Rail, which manages the nation’s rail infrastructure, allows its staff to take five days volunteer leave. A group of colleagues spent a day sorting donations for the hospice.

Nine colleagues from the digital marketing team at Volkswagen UK also volunteered for a day at the hospice’s clearance store. “Experiencing what goes on behind the scenes, the scale of the back-office operation and what happens to all the donations from the public was an eye opener,” says digital marketing manager Marianne Bearton. “Volkswagen offers their employees a special volunteer day to help their local community which is an awesome opportunity.”

A total 70 volunteers have given up to 120 hours a week at the hospice’s vaccination clinics. The hospice receives £10 per volunteer – “a fantastic source of additional funds for us,” says community fundraising manager Nikki Poole.

Willen Hospice receives from the NHS only 18 per cent of the funding it needs to operate for a year. The rest comes from fundraising. “The work that corporate volunteers do for us behind the scenes is a vital resource,” says chief executive Peta Wilkinson.

  • To find out more about volunteering. email corporate@willen-hospice.org.uk

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