Maureen volunteers two days per week at the Cullompton Hospiscare shop and three days in the Exeter Hospiscare shop on Fore Street.
“I have been volunteering for six years since my husband, Chris, died,” Maureen explains. “Hospiscare was a massive help to me and my husband, so when I decided to start volunteering there was no doubt in my mind about which charity I wanted to volunteer for.”
When Chris became ill Maureen wanted to care for him at home. Maureen says, “The Hospiscare nurses were amazing. They made sure Chris was cared for and his needs were met, but they also looked after me too. The support given by the nurses was incredible.”
After Chris died Maureen attended one of Hospiscare’s bereavement support groups. She says, “It was really helpful to be able to talk to people who understood what I was going through.”.
Maureen has also found this experience to be helpful while volunteering in the shop. She has learned how to speak to people who have been bereaved and understands how to help them more.
Maureen explains “It can be really hard sorting out a loved ones clothes and belongings. People sometimes find it really difficult to part with these items when it comes time to donate them.
“I am very patient with customers at times like these. I give people plenty of time and space to talk, if they want to. We can make sure the donated items are sent to one of our other shops because seeing a loved one’s clothes in person can be upsetting. Customers are often reassured that this can be done to make things easier for them.”
Cullompton shop manager, Amy, commented “Maureen is very special because of the amount of time she chooses to donate. She is a brilliant ambassador for Hospiscare, knowing first-hand what a difference the money raised means to the patients and their families. When we have a new volunteer starting I always try and put them with Maureen to help them learn. She has fantastic customer service skills and she is happy to share her expertise with the team.
“Our Mo,as she likes to be called, has even come to the rescue offering to keep the shop open when we are short staffed and would otherwise be closed. We really would be lost without her.”
Maureen says, “I love volunteering, it makes me feel part of the community. If I wasn’t volunteering I would just be sitting at home by myself. Because I volunteer, I get out and about and I see a lot of customers I recognise when I’m walking around town. It gives me something worthwhile to do.
“To anyone who is thinking about volunteering, I would say just come in and give it a go. There are so many different ways you can help and things you can do. Just give it a try and see what you think. You might be surprised!”