Volunteering changed my life

08 February 2018

A VOLUNTEER for the hospice has described how his role has changed his life for the better.

Volunteering changed my life

Matt Doonan, 48, from Upholland began volunteering for the charity in its Shevington shop almost five years ago after going in as a customer.

He had been suffering from depression but went into the shop and felt so welcome there that he began volunteering one afternoon a week.

"I was suffering quite badly with depression and didn't get out much," Matt said. "My wife and myself came over to the shop one day, we were having a look around and I felt really comfortable there. It was suggested that I volunteer, I was a bit reluctant at first but I started volunteering on a Tuesday afternoon and I've never looked back.
"Volunteering here has improved my mood and it's given me something to look forward to. It's made me have a purpose and a focus whereas before everything was the same every day. It's difficult to try and get out of that rut but this has been wonderful - it's been a good medicine."

Matt spoke out ahead of a Volunteers Open Day taking place at the Woodview Centre at the hospice on February 20th when anyone interested in volunteering is invited to go to the Hindley-based charity between 10am and 3pm to find out more about what is involved.

Roles including reception work, providing companionship to patients in the community and volunteering in the charity's shops are being recruited to.

Matt now volunteers three shifts a week at the shop on Gathurst Lane and says the biggest impact of volunteering has been an improvement in his confidence.

"It's great because you grow in confidence, it gives you something to look forward to doing even if it's just one shift a week. It improves your self-esteem and all the while you know the money raised in the shop is helping the hospice."

He also believes that should he go back to work the skills he has learnt while volunteering will help him.

"There's working on the till, dealing with customers, sorting stock that comes in and keeping the shop clean and tidy so there's a wide range of things to do and you can develop useful skills," he added.

Rebekah Ashley, Inpatient Unit Manager, said: "Our volunteers on the Inpatient Unit are an invaluable help to our nursing teams and we rely on their dedication to support us in providing our services. Volunteers are also a tremendous source of comfort to patients and their loved ones who benefit greatly from passionate volunteers listening and talking to them. Some also support patients to create their own personalised art and craft projects."

The Volunteers Open Day takes place on Tuesday, February 20th when staff and current volunteers will be available to chat to anyone interested about the range of volunteering roles available both within the hospice and in the community.

The event takes place at the Woodview Centre, Wigan and Leigh Hospice, Kildare Street, Hindley.


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