15 May 2017

Volunteer uses his hobby to help hospice care

David Powell, from Aylesbury, overcame partial paralysis following a stroke to become a photography volunteer in Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s retail & tradingDavid Powell team. 

David explains: “I love photography and used to do it professionally.  It’s great to be able to use my experience in this way: I enjoy taking the photos and I’m doing some good at the same time.”

David had a stroke in 2000 which affected his left side.  He has developed techniques to so that he can continue with his photography – and his other hobby – drumming!

“I can use my left arm as a counter-balance for my right hand, which helps me hold the camera steady.  I taught myself to drum using just one had years ago – well before I had the stroke.  I never realised it would come in so handy!”

David has been volunteering with Rennie Grove for six years.  His role is to photograph the hundreds of items being listed on the charity’s ebay store each week.

David has found that the retail team’s new home at Bainbridge House in Berkhamsted is a definite improvement. “The room where I take the photos isn’t any larger – but in our previous place the walls were lined with shelves and full of stuff.  I often took photos of mirrors and silverware, which would reflect everything else in the room!  Now we have clear, white walls which means I can achieve a nice, soft light using flash and reflectors. 

“The better the quality of the photo, the more it will stand out when people are browsing through items on ebay.” 

The charity’s volunteer ebay listers always aim to upload several photos of each item. 

“It takes longer,” admits David, “but it increases the likelihood of a sale and can drive bids up because people feel confident in what they’re bidding for.  They can see all round the item and read any fine detail such as engraving.

“I spend between four and five hours here each week.  I get through around 30 items in that time – and probably take about 150 photos!”

In 2016 alone, ebay volunteers gave nearly 4,000 hours of their time, which would have cost the charity almost £30,000 if they had been relying purely on paid staff.  Rennie Grove’s ebay store brings in more than £50,000 each year towards the charity’s specialist nursing and family support services.  If you’d like to join the volunteer team based at Bainbridge House and be part of a growing retail initiative raising crucial funds for families affected by cancer and other life-limiting illness, contact Rennie Grove’s Volunteer Services Team on 01442 890222 or volunteer@renniegrove.org