01 June 2017

Taking time to say thank you

Rennie Grove Hospice Care is taking advantage of a national awareness week celebrating the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.  Volunteers’ Week runs from 1 to 7 June and Rennie Grove is taking time to say thank you to its 1,500-strong army of dedicated volunteers in a number of ways for their crucial contribution.

Susan Lewis, Rennie Grove Volunteer Services Officer, explains: “We worked out that our amazing volunteers donate over 140,000 hours between them each year. When a volunteer gives their time, that selfless dedication to the cause is priceless because it allows us to give patients the choice to be cared for at home.  However, we wanted to try and quantify the amazing support provided by our volunteers so long-standing volunteer Doreen Beattie undertook a Volunteer Value project to calculate the total hours they give and the money they save. (See full findings at end of release.)

“Doreen's findings confirm that our invaluable volunteers save us more than £1.5 million every year.  This astounding figure cannot hope to represent the true value of the compassion and community engagement they bring to their roles - but it does prove that their contribution is a truly amazing thing.”

Volunteers play an integral part in the care and support Rennie Grove offers to local families affected by cancer and other life-limiting illness.  Susan adds: “From the Trustees responsible for the charity’s governance to the drivers who transport patients to and from the Day Services available at Grove House; from the nearly 90 volunteers who support the five-strong staff team running Rennie Grove’s Family Support Services to those who give hundreds of hours each year helping to fundraise in the community; from the almost 800 volunteers who underpin the charity’s retail operation to the receptionists who manage the switchboards every week – these incredible people help us to reach many more families in need than we otherwise could.  And as demand for our service grows, we’ll need to recruit even more volunteers to keep pace with patients’ needs.”

As volunteers impact on all areas of the charity’s work, Rennie Grove has arranged for senior managers to visit each of the charity’s offices and shops to say a personal thank you to the volunteers on duty there during the awareness week, while shop managers will create innovative window displays in honour of their dedicated teams of volunteers.

Susan adds: “Logistically this will only capture a fraction of our volunteers in person and so our Communications team have produced a short video featuring staff members conveying their immense gratitude with comments based around the theme ‘volunteers matter because…’  We hope this will go some of the way to showing our wonderful volunteers how valued and respected they are by all of us here – and just how much difference they make to families going through such a difficult time.”

View the video at www.renniegrove.org and on social media by following Rennie Grove on Twitter @renniegrove or liking them on Facebook @renniegrovehospicecare.  Join in the conversation using #VolunteersWeek to share your experiences of volunteering.  If you’d like to join Rennie Grove’s team of volunteers then click here to see current vacancies or call 01442 890222 to talk through how you could help the charity and how they might be able to help you.

Full findings from Volunteer Value project (figures cover one year):

This figure is a conservative estimate based on relatively low salaries, realistic for the charitable sector, and does not take into account the considerable time spent travelling to and from volunteer assignments.

•        Family support volunteers give 3,567 hours of their time supporting family members and patients in their own homes.  Family Support Services (FSS) include counselling, listening and complementary therapies offered to patients during their illness and to family members while their loved one is ill and after they are bereaved.

•        Volunteer drivers have dedicated more than 4,000 hours to getting patients to and from Day Services at Grove House, saving the charity over £60,000 and ensuring every patient could access the charity’s services.

•        Volunteers in our Day Hospice at Grove House gave more than 5,700 hours - a saving of at least £41,500.

•        Shop volunteers in Rennie Grove’s 24 shops gave more than 100,000 hours of their time, saving the charity nearly £700,000.

•        Volunteer marshals at mass participation events donated 831 hours, saving more than £24,000.

•        Volunteers at the Magistrates' Tea Bar in St Albans spent 2,236 hours between them manning the busy refreshments area.  The Tea Bar has brought in over £100,000 since 2004.

•        Volunteers in crucial reception and administrative roles across the charity allowed us to make savings of more than £115,000.