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Why I volunteer: so I can share my business expertise to help others

Author: Richard Green
27 November 2017

Richard Green joined Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice in 2012 as a volunteer in its income generation and marketing team. He recently won ‘Community Volunteer of the Year’ at the Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) awards, due to his outstanding commitment to the charity.

Working as a civil engineer for over 50 years meant that I was always on the go. From managing large-scale projects to developing my team – no two days ever seemed the same. So, when the time came for me to retire five years ago, I knew I needed to do something which I could really get my teeth into, to make sure I was kept busy.

Volunteering at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice gives me a great sense of purpose. I find it impossible to keep still and so helping out in the income generation and marketing team is a great opportunity for me to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I love being around people, and working at the hospice allows me to support others and be part of a team.

I decided to volunteer for Birmingham St Mary’s after I witnessed first-hand the expert care and compassionate support they offer to individuals and families. My mum passed away at the hospice 20 years ago and after all the help they gave to her and my family, it is positive to know that I am able to give a little something back.

My role at the charity is incredibly varied, which certainly helps in keeping me occupied. On some days, I will be using my business expertise and key contacts to help the fundraising team write proposals and secure top sponsorship deals, whereas on other days, I will be out and about, meeting other local businesses to help spread the word of our fantastic hospice.

One of my key roles is supporting the charity’s annual ‘Treecycling’ campaign, which is a seasonal initiative that recycles unwanted Christmas trees to help raise vital funds. I help by encouraging local businesses to donate vans and volunteers, mapping out collection routes for drivers and briefing other volunteers on what their roles will be. Treecycling is always a highlight for me – that first morning when all the volunteers are together, tucking into bacon sandwiches before we set off, is just fantastic. The atmosphere and buzz in the room is electric and it suddenly makes months of hard work feel worthwhile.

You never stop learning when you are volunteering. I have got a better understanding of all the different services that makes a hospice work, as well as meeting new people from all walks of life. My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering is to really get stuck in and get involved with as much as you possibly can. It is important to have the help of loved ones too – my wife, daughters and granddaughters are always getting roped into events and so it is great to know that I can rely on their support.

For more information visit Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

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