Alan is a new volunteer and is part of the gardening team. He’s been volunteering for just a few weeks and his enthusiasm for what he is doing is infectious. But why did he want to get involved with St Wilfrid’s?

'I first thought about volunteering 18 months ago but at the time I was still working full-time in London

'When I retired in April 2019 I decided after a couple of weeks of ‘kicking my heels’ to see if there was any volunteering work I could do at St. Wilfrid’s. I called the volunteer team and they invited me in for an interview.'

For Alan, it all happened very quickly. He had his interview one day, did his induction the next and a week or so later found himself part of gardening team at the hospice.

'I have no real experience of gardening but I liked the idea of being outdoors and Head Gardener, Kevin, is great at guiding you, we have a lot of fun together.

'It’s such a lovely place and I love being here.'

Having spent most of his working life as a precision engineer working in enclosed workshops, Alan is really enjoying his time in the open air. He spends time clearing leaves, cutting back and preparing for planting in the spring. Alan has also spent time with the team putting up the Christmas decorations, lights and our wooden reindeers that are around the hospice building. One of the things which surprised Alan is just how big the gardens are.

'When I used to come here for a cup of tea with my wife we enjoyed being in the gardens that visitors can access. Now I get to see all the gardens and there’s so much, being a part of it is really fantastic.'

Alan says one of the best things about volunteering is the people he meets and works with.

'I love the company and we’re all different; we’ve got engineers (like me) a banker, ex-police officer, all sorts, all working together and there’s no egos.

'Anyone can be a volunteer, there are all sorts of jobs need doing, inside, outside, driving, in the shops, helping patients. You don’t need special skills; all you need is time which you are able to give.

'It could be as little as a couple of hours a week to a day or more if you can.”

There are hundreds of jobs which need doing within the work of the charity, and they may not all be obvious. Why not visit the Volunteer pages on this site or contact the Voluntary Services team at [email protected] and see what opportunities await you.