"I love knowing I’ve made a difference."
Dedicated volunteer Chris, has been with Royal Voluntary Service for over 26 years, contributing to the wellbeing of her community. Chris volunteers alongside her husband Ian at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The hospital’s Royal Voluntary Service café and shop are visited by patients, staff and visitors, who often appreciate a friendly chat from a volunteer along with their purchase.
Chris’s commitment to the charity began when she unfortunately wasn't in the best health. Driven by a desire to make a positive impact, she embraced volunteering as a way to give back.
"I signed up to volunteer back in 1996, when I, unfortunately, wasn’t very well, and I decided I would spend my time doing some voluntary work. Ian’s mother had been a member of the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service), as it was at the time, and I thought it was something I could do."
Working in the oncology unit's café, Chris has developed close connections with patients, recognising the importance of friendly chats and moments of support, making each interaction more than just a transaction.
"The café is in the hospital’s oncology unit, so you get to know the patients, and they are such wonderful people, it’s so lovely to sit and talk to them for a little chat. I love knowing I’ve made a difference."
When Ian faced a recurrence of prostate cancer, the couple found solace and support in the hospital's familiar faces. Ian underwent radiotherapy treatment at the same hospital where the pair volunteer. This personal experience reinforced Chris's commitment to serving and connecting with others during challenging times.
"Since Ian has completed his treatment at the hospital, it’s even more rewarding now to Play My Part and serve the hospital staff that come into the café. They were so lovely with Ian and me, and they work so hard. I’ve become familiar with them and when I see them coming, I already know what they like to drink and can have it ready for them before they ask. It’s always nice to see them."
"People need to know that there is actually a great element of flexibility with volunteering. It doesn’t matter if you’re not retired yet, or if you are and you go on holiday a lot. If you want to be able to help and support people, there are flexible roles that will work around you."