Wendy Ives was one of our very first Care Support Volunteers, specially trained to provide hands on help to our nurses and carers in the hospices. After seven years of volunteering she tells us why she still looks forward to Mondays…

“I do an afternoon a week and my role can involve anything from reading to the children and playing with them, swimming with them or helping out on the housekeeping side making tea and coffee, getting bedrooms ready and helping in the laundry. It’s a great team feeling and we all pitch in.

“I had a lot of training initially and shadowed nurses and was gradually able to help with general care too and things like bath times, but always with a nurse or carer. No day is ever the same! I never know what to expect but I always know I will enjoy the day whatever it is.

“People ask why on earth I would want to volunteer in a hospice and assume it must be such a sad place.

“I can’t deny there are tears because the longer I’m there the more I get to know the children and young adults, so when they die it is sad. I don’t think you get over that but you get through it with the help and support of the people there. So even though you may be very sad when you hear that a child has died or is going through those end days you are totally uplifted by the joy and the memories that you have of that child on the good days.

“I retired early from junior school teaching and I did miss the children and the team I worked with. Hope House has enabled me to feel part of a great team again and makes me feel that I am giving something back. It’s a total privilege to be there – I would not like to be without Hope House in my life.

“Every day that I volunteer I end up with a smile on my face. In the swimming pool it is joyous to see the children who are bound to a wheelchair most of their time getting into the water and feeling that freedom.

“And little things like taking one of the young adult’s beds out into the garden last summer and seeing him smile because he could feel the breeze on his face. He couldn’t say anything but he could express his sheer happiness with that big smile.

“When I’m driving home I recall those sunshine moments and look forward to next time.

“It really puts my life in perspective. Monday comes and if I’ve been moaning about anything over the weekend I think for goodness sake stop it! It’s nothing compared to what these families and these children are going through.

“I get an awful lot more from Hope House than I can ever give.”

If Wendy's story has inspired you then get in touch and let us know how you could help...

I'd like to volunteer