Rennie Grove Hospice Care offers talks delivered by experienced volunteer Ambassadors to local clubs, groups and companies. Helping to spread the word about the services Rennie Grove provides, the talks are tailor-made to suit the audience. Long-standing volunteer and Ambassador, Doreen Beattie, talks about her experiences standing up in front of people of various ages, cultures and pastimes.
“I am incredibly proud to be associated with Rennie Grove, and I never tire of talking about the work we do. I also love meeting local people, hearing about their experiences, answering their questions, and sharing in community fundraising events. I feel very lucky to have an ambassador role, providing a bridge between the charity and the community.”
Doreen has a wealth of knowledge about the charity, having volunteered for seven years, but she still takes time to prepare every talk specifically for each new audience. She admits that in spite of this, the role still throws up the occasional surprise or challenge.
“I like to think I can give an honest answer to any question I am posed, including some very sensitive and emotional ones. However, there is no doubt that the questions asked by children can be particularly challenging. On one occasion, when I spent half a day with a class of schoolchildren, answering a number of imaginative (and quite random) questions, one boy asked 'Is it true that dogs can smell when someone is very ill?' I didn't see that one coming, but, like all questions, it deserved a serious answer.
Doreen likes the fact that it’s not just the audience members who learn something new from her talks and she embraces new ideas and knowledge in her role.
“I once went to give a talk at a women's group, only to discover that it was an Asian community group, many of whom didn't speak English. After every third sentence I had to stop and wait while my words were translated into three different languages or dialects. I found it challenging at first, but it made me think more carefully about making every word count - and by the smiles and nods I received that day, I realised that there is more to communication and empathy than just language.”
Not much fazes Doreen, which can be an important trait in an Ambassador. Although having to single out competition winners can take her out of her comfort zone.
“I don't get embarrassed at the questions I am asked, or the sometimes very emotional moments I share with members of the audience. However, I do sometimes feel embarrassed if, as part of the evening, I am asked to judge a competition. I sometimes don't know the judging criteria, so I feel a bit bad about choosing a winner, though I'm always glad to take part in a community event. I will certainly never forget being asked to judge a carrot-growing competition - quite surreal!”
Doreen describes the most uplifting moments of being an Ambassador:
“During most of my talks, there comes a moment when I catch the eye of someone in the audience, and I just know that either they have experienced the benefit of Rennie Grove’s services in the past, or that they have recognised that we can give them the help they need now or in the future. I find that moment extremely gratifying, and it makes me so grateful to have this role, allowing me to give something back to the local community who give our charity so much support.”
If your club or group would like to book Doreen or a colleague to deliver a talk, please contact the fundraising team on 01727 731028.