Volunteering has a number of advantages including helping you to make new friends and contacts, increasing your social skills, giving something back to your local community and giving you the skills, knowledge and experience to help advance your career.
This National Volunteers Week a number of Compton Hospice volunteers have been sharing their stories with us – one such volunteer is Emma Gardiner. Emma has been a volunteer with the hospice’s PR & Marketing team for only a few months but is already certain that her experience as a volunteer will go a long way to helping her land her dream job.
The first time I became aware of Compton Hospice was when my granddad was visited in his home by the hospice’s community nurses who helped to monitor his pain and medication levels towards the end of his battle with cancer in 2003. He sadly passed away in December 2003 when I was 12 years old and we collected money for Compton Hospice at his funeral. The following Spring, my mum saw an advertisement in the local paper for a job working in the offices at Compton Hospice and she thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to give something back to the charity that had helped to look after her father. I joined her briefly as an office assistant when I chose Compton Hospice as the location for my work experience week in Year 10. I remember being nervous at first but all of the staff were very friendly and welcoming. I always got the impression that it would be a lovely place to work or volunteer.
After graduating from University in 2013 I soon found myself back at Compton Hospice, volunteering in a role I had never considered before. I wasn’t sure what area of work I wanted to go into, but I asked if it would be possible to get some experience in PR & Marketing. After a couple of days shadowing Compton’s PR & Marketing Officer I soon decided that I wanted to pursue PR as a career. My volunteering experience at Compton Hospice landed me an internship at one of the largest UK PR agencies outside of London. However, I found that big agency work was not really for me and moved onto various part time jobs whilst I thought about what to do next. I stayed in contact with Compton Hospice and in March this year was invited to come back to continue volunteering in a PR role. I happily accepted the invitation and have very much enjoyed my last two months volunteering here. The work is varied and exciting as I get to meet and speak to so many different people by helping to promote Compton Hospice and profiling some of their hardworking fundraisers. The staff are great to work with too!
Most of all, I love volunteering at Compton Hospice because I feel like I am really making a difference and helping to support their vital work to support those with life-limiting illnesses. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for me yet, but my volunteering experience has helped me to realise that my top priority is to find a line of work which enables me to make a positive impact, just like the staff and volunteers at Compton Hospice.
National Volunteers week runs from 1st to 7th June every year and aims to recognise the contribution of the 20 million across the UK who volunteer every year, donating more than 100 million hours to their community every week. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of National Volunteers Week. For more information visit www.volunteersweek.org