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Why I volunteer: A student’s perspective

Author: Leila Hawkins
03 April 2017

Hannah Workman, from Longbenton, is a former student volunteer at St Oswald’s. She was prompted to volunteer after her brother, Dylan, was cared for by St Oswald’s Children’s Service.

Hannah wanted to give something back to the staff and volunteers who cared for him, and volunteering with children was also a great experience prior to starting her Child Nursing degree at the University of Dundee. Hannah volunteered once a week and helped the children with crafts and other activities for almost a year.

 “I enjoyed every moment of my volunteering at St Oswald’s. I worked with the children and each day was different. I loved having a positive impact on their day and their smiles and positive attitude brightened my day too. I learned a lot about children’s disabilities and the individual needs of each child and I always felt a valued member of the St Oswald’s team.”

“Everything I learned helped towards my training and future career in child nursing. Working with children with complex needs and observing the staff who worked with them was great experience before my professional training. I also developed my communication skills by interacting with the families and healthcare professionals which was great for my confidence.

“I chose to volunteer with St Oswald’s as my younger brother, Dylan, visited the Children’s Service for short breaks so I wanted to give back to the Hospice for what they did for Dylan and my family.  I already knew some of the staff there so I felt comfortable in making the move to volunteering with them. The whole team were lovely and welcoming.”

St Oswald’s Hospice currently has over 90 student volunteers who have quickly become a valuable asset to the team. With the continued support of volunteers, the Hospice is able to provide specialist care for children, young adults, patients and families from across the North East.  

Christine Ward, Volunteer Services Manager at St Oswald's Hospice, says students typically go for positions as ward helpers, shop assistants and fundraising support, but there are many other opportunities that are all equally helpful. She said:

“Volunteering not only helps the Hospice but it goes a long way to helping the student as well. It can boost your CV from good to great. Using your spare time in this way can show initiative, independence and dedication, all qualities future employers look for in their candidates. Volunteering can also give you the key skills, training and experience employers are looking for. In today’s competitive jobs market this can make all the difference.“

“And of course, there is the social side to consider. Volunteering can be hugely rewarding and give you a sense of personal gratification. So you feel good whilst doing good! By giving back to your local community, you can make a positive impact on someone’s life.” 

For more information visit St Oswald’s

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