Moving to a new county inspired Denise Watkins to volunteer for Hospiscare and give something back to the community, while meeting people and making new friends.
Originally from Kent, Denise moved to Exmouth five years ago after taking early retirement from her career as a CQC registered social care manager for the local authority. She has been volunteering in Hospiscare’s Exmouth shop for the past three years.
Denise’s decision to volunteer for Hospiscare was a spontaneous one. Having no previous experience with our charity, Denise was looking round the Magnolia shop after a bargain. Everyone in the shop was very friendly and after a chat with the manager at the time, Karen and sales advisor, Chrissy, it was agreed Denise would start volunteering once the shop had moved into the new premises on The Parade. This was just the opportunity that Denise was looking for to give back to the community and meet new people and so she began volunteering in The Parade shop. Denise explains:
“I volunteer Tuesday mornings and all day on Thursdays. I get on really well with the other volunteers and on occasions, we meet up socially. I’ve also opened and closed the shop in the past when there hasn’t been a manager to cover.
“I really like to keep busy and feel that my time at the shop has truly helped. I set myself a target to complete a certain task by the time my shift has ended.”
Denise has a background in business and is a real asset to the shop as she will think of new ways to approach and complete tasks. Denise continues:
“Even though I haven’t had any personal experience with the charity, everyone that comes into the shop always speaks about how amazing Hospiscare is. It’s nice to feel you’re really helping a good cause that is important to so many people.”
Working as a volunteer has given something back to Denise too. She explains:
“I love the atmosphere in the shop. I have made so many new friends and I love volunteering because the other ladies are so wonderful. The customers are lovely too and I have a good laugh with them, dancing to the music as they pop into the shop quickly before catching the bus from the stop outside.
“Occasionally, I take donations, usually ornaments, home for my husband to clean; this gives the shop a greater chance of selling it; I have a piece of silverware at the moment and no one has any idea what it is! I have been taking it with me everywhere to try and solve the mystery.”
Denise is a firm advocate for volunteering at Hospiscare due to the difference it has made in her life and the impact that she is able to have on others.
“To anyone thinking of volunteering, I would say just give it a go – it might not be what you are expecting. No one knows what is around the corner; you or someone you love may need to use the services of the hospice at some point in the future. Volunteering at Hospiscare enables you to be flexible and decide how much time you are able to give and how often, as well as what type of volunteering you would like to do. Give it a go!”
Are you interested in learning about volunteering opportunities in the Hospiscare Retail Team? Click here to find out more.