Woohoo! Our First #TheBigHelpOut Sign-Up – Lovely Lisa is Lending a Hand!

We’re so excited to have had our first #TheBigHelpOut Volunteer sign-up!

Lisa Coulthard, from Newcastle Building Society, will be rolling up her sleeves in our Wallsend shop on Monday 8th May. Lisa said:

“The Big Help Out is a great opportunity for me to give something back to the community. I’m volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice as it’s an amazing charity that gives so much support to people when they need it most.”

(Thanks, Lisa! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!)

The Big Help Out is a national campaign to celebrate and encourage volunteering in the year of King Charles’ Coronation. The aim is to promote volunteering and inspire people across the nation to join in, lend a hand and make a change.

Susan Freeman, Retail Operations Manager, signed Lisa up and told us:

“I’m working with Lisa and her team at Newcastle Building Society as they are each given a day away from work to volunteer – and Lisa is encouraging them all to choose St Oswald’s Hospice which we really appreciate as we can always use an extra pair of hands.

“We were thrilled when Lisa chose Monday 8th May and became our first volunteer for The Big Help Out! We’d love more individuals and businesses to get involved right across the summer – and beyond!”

We caught up with Kath Deans, Shop Manager at Wallsend, where Lisa will be lending a hand, to find out her plans for the day.

Kath said:

“We can’t wait to launch The Big Help Out in our Wallsend shop on the Coronation Bank Holiday Monday – we’re opening up the shop so people can get a behind-the-scenes look at what volunteers might get up to when working with us. It will be great to have Lisa in for the day, helping on our tombola and serving teas and coffees. We’re going to let people who pop in have a go at dressing our mannequins with clothes from the shop to get a taste of one of the things they may be asked to do as a volunteer. So, Lisa might like to have a go and get creative with her fashion styling!”

Kath herself started out as a shop volunteer 10 years ago. As she explained:

“I was having mental health issues at the time and I needed companionship and some adult conversation. Volunteering really helped me through a hard time – I found what I needed and more than that, it gave me a purpose. I became Assistant Manager and then 6 years ago, I was promoted to Shop Manager.”

Kath continued:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is a real community and I really feel a part of it. I personally know lots of people who have used the hospice services – and I love knowing that I’m doing something worthwhile that ultimately helps patients. I’d recommend volunteering to anyone – it gives you a sense of worth, boosts self-esteem, provides a community, friendship and opens up new opportunities if you want them.”

Kath explained that The Big Help Out has come at a great time for her shop:

“We currently have 19 volunteers, but ideally we need 30 to make sure our shop can stay open and raise vital funds for the hospice. My team of volunteers are amazing – they span all ages – and we pride ourselves on being inclusive. We have volunteers from different backgrounds, religions and abilities. But we’re all in it together and learn from each other. The thing my volunteers all have in common is a sense of pride in what we achieve as a shop and the contribution that makes to hospice care. I can’t say enough how much volunteers mean to us – we wouldn’t be open without our volunteers.”

The Wallsend shop and all our other St Oswald’s Hospice shops are excited to be taking part in The Big Help Out – they look forward to welcoming lots of people in to their local shop on Monday 8th May. That way they’ll see for themselves how brilliant it is to volunteer.

As Susan Freeman said:

“Some might not have thought about volunteering before but by Lending a Hand through The Big Help Out, we hope that people will see how important their gift of time to us is.

“At St Oswald’s Hospice volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation – from volunteers in our shops who help raise the vital funds we need, to the ward helpers supporting patients and families, to gardeners, catering volunteers and many more. We have lots of volunteering opportunities and The Big Help Out is about being able to shine a light on the amazing work our volunteers do.”

Inspired by Lisa and Kath?

If you’d like to roll up your sleeves and get involved, email us below.

Whether you can give a one-off day like Lisa, one day a week or more, we’d be happy to hear from you.

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