Sarah Gay has been volunteering as a Hospice receptionist for over 15 years.
Sarah comes to the Hospice having worked over 20 years in customer service at Marks and Spencer. This experience, along with her warm and friendly manner, make her perfect for welcoming visitors and families. She volunteers one day a week and is busy answering calls and directing calls from families, colleagues and organisations, announcing visitors and updating the admissions/discharges diary.
Sarah said: “After I was given the position on reception, I immediately realised we are often the first face that patients and their families encounter when they arrive. I know it’s a difficult time, so I try to make everyone feel as welcome and at ease as possible.“
Volunteering on reception at the Hospice like Sarah does is a wonderful way to donate time while also providing a vital service. She gets to know many of the families well and follows their stories.
“Sometimes it’s hard, but I find being a volunteer here very rewarding and I’m grateful to be part of a team that I know do their absolute best to care for everyone who needs it.” Sarah says.
Sarah is just one of the over 500 volunteers that donate their skills and time to help the Hospice provide quality care to those with terminal illness and their families. Volunteers offer support for any number of reasons. For some it is about giving back to the Kent community and for others, it is a way of expressing gratitude for how the Hospice cared for a loved one.
For Sarah, who has lived in Bearsted all her life, it was both. “My mother had volunteered at the Hospice for many years. Through her, I have always been aware of the important role it fills in the community. It provides a tremendous service. I saw it first-hand when my mother and my mother-in law were both supported by the Hospice at home.”
The Hospice Community Team helps patients, like Sarah’s family members, stay living at home. Through home visits, telephone and video consultations and working closely with patient GPs and other healthcare professionals, the Hospice Community Team is there for support.
“When you contact them, all the doors just open that were previously closed. Everything is accessible and help is there,” said Sarah.
Hospice volunteers like Sarah have all kinds of invaluable experiences and talents to share and are an integral part of the Hospice team. They help out in any number of ways from receptionists, finance assistants, and gardeners to patient care on our Inpatient Unit and of course in our 14 retail shops. Not only is it an excellent way to build on and learn new skills, volunteering is also a great way to connect with other enthusiastic and dedicated individuals.
Sarah says this is a wonderful bonus. “I have made many good friends over the years!”