St Oswald’s Hospice volunteer celebrates her British citizenship!

Rohini Shah, originally from Nepal, has successfully applied for her British Citizenship having volunteered in St Oswald’s Hospice Gosforth and Gateshead shops since 2019.

Rohini Shah came to the UK from Nepal in 2008 with her young son. She joined her husband who had studied a PhD at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde before moving to the North East of England to start a job as an Electro-magnetic Design Engineer.

When the couple’s son was older and settled in the UK, Rohini decided she wanted to volunteer in a local charity shop as a way of meeting new friends and give back.

One day, she walked along Gosforth High Street in search of a volunteering role.

Rohini visited a national charity shop but was told to come back another day. She left and went into the neighbouring St Oswald’s Hospice shop.

She didn’t know anything about St Oswald’s Hospice at the time but she liked the friendly atmosphere in the shop. Rohini enquired about volunteering and was pleasantly surprised when the shop manager responded immediately to ask when she could start.

Rohini began volunteering at the St Oswald’s Hospice shop in Gosforth in 2019 and loved being part of a team, helping people with their purchases, and learning new skills.

Rohini temporarily stopped volunteering when the shop was forced to close during the pandemic but returned when it reopened after lockdown.

In 2023, she relocated to the Gateshead shop, which is closer to her home.

Assistant manager, Sebastian Proudfoot, couldn’t believe his luck when Rohini revealed she could volunteer four days a week in the Gateshead shop.

He said “It’s quite unusual for a volunteer to do so many hours but Rohini just asked ‘when do you need me?’

He added: “It’s great having Rohini as a constant in the shop. She’s able to train new volunteers.”

The 43-year-old spends most of her time on the till and has quickly adapted to the new electronic system that’s been installed across all St Oswald’s Hospice shops.

Rohini says she enjoyed learning how to use the new tills and found the transition “easy”.

When she’s not serving customers, Rohini will often be found steaming donated clothes to get them ready for the shop floor.

“I love volunteering and I enjoy anything I’m asked to do,” she added.

As Rohini has learnt more about St Oswald’s Hospice, she’s proud of how the hospice helps people and feels part of that.

“I like that I help people directly in the shop but also indirectly, I’m helping the hospice care for patients and their families,” she said.


Rohini recently applied for her British citizenship, following in the footsteps of her husband who had previously gone through the process.

After her application was successful, she attended a special ceremony at Gateshead Civic Centre where she met the Mayor and received her British citizenship certificate.

Rohini is elated to have become a citizen of her adopted home, which she admits is “very different to Nepal”.

She added: “I feel it’s a bit more organised here. I like rules and discipline and so living in the UK suits me.”

But Rohini still likes to bring a taste of her homeland to Tyneside by regularly cooking tasty Nepalese treats for everyone at the Gateshead shop to enjoy!

Congratulations on gaining your British citizenship, Rohini. And thank you for your dedicated support volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice!

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