The Northern Ireland Hospice is calling on people to donate a few hours of their time to volunteer in the Ballyclare Hospice shop.
Opened in June this year, the shop has received the generous backing of the local community, with a core team of 15 volunteers signing up to support the shop on a regular weekly basis.
The Hospice shop team says that every person who gives their time is ‘worth their weight in gold’, as volunteering in the shop for a morning or afternoon each week is actually the equivalent of donating £1,500 every year to the local charity.
Local woman, Diane Hurst, volunteers in the Doagh Road shop and whilst she initially wanted to give her time to help Hospice, she now knows just how much volunteers get back in return.
She said: “I’ve been volunteering in the Ballyclare Hospice shop since it opened in June.
“Initially I wanted to give my time as Northern Ireland Hospice is a cause close to my heart.
“My father passed away from cancer and whilst he didn’t receive treatment from Northern Ireland Hospice, I know how important their special way of caring is.
“When I realised that my four hours of time per week was the equivalent of donating £1,500 every year to Hospice, I knew it was something I had to do,” said Diane.
“When I signed up to volunteer I initially thought it was a nice way to help Hospice but what I didn’t realise was just how much I’d get back in return.
“Previously, I’d always worked in an office and didn’t have any interaction with customers or the general public.
“From working in the Hospice shop, I’ve got to meet so many people which is something I love doing.
“I’ve also learnt other new skills such as showing my artistic flair by dressing the window displays and working the tills.
“It’s really built my confidence. There’s a great sense of community spirit in the Hospice shop, you really get to know your customers and it’s lovely working with such a varied age group of volunteers who range from teenagers to older people,” Diane said.
Hospice shops are located in towns right across Northern Ireland and play a vital role in helping the charity meet its annual £5.5m fundraising target.
The Northern Ireland Hospice is appealing for more volunteers to join the Ballyclare Hospice shop, particularly during week days.
If you could spare a few hours to help local children, young people and adults with life-limiting illnesses whilst enjoying the fun and friendship associated with being a member the Hospice shop volunteer team, please contact the shop team on (028) 9332 3293.
You can also call into the shop itself at 10 Doagh Road, Ballyclare -just off The Square, opposite St John’s Church of Ireland.