Chestnut Tree House Thanks Volunteers For Their Vital Contribution

29. Volunteers Week_Dee Willmott

Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice relies on the support of volunteers across the charity, and is taking the chance during Volunteers’ Week to highlight some of the incredible ways people get involved and make a difference.

Taking place 1–7 June every year, Volunteers’ Week is a chance to thank the millions of volunteers across the UK, and recognise the various ways they contribute to different areas of society. 

At a recent volunteer thank you event in Eastbourne, Chestnut Tree House’s CEO, Hugh Lowson, spoke about the vital work the hospice does caring for children with life-shortening conditions across Sussex and South East Hampshire, and how hours gifted to the charity by volunteers last year has really made a difference.

During 2017/18, a total of 393 volunteers supported Chestnut Tree House, both at the hospice and in its charity shops. These generous individuals contributed 42,529 hours, saving Chestnut Tree House £447,985.

Those volunteering at fundraising events for both Chestnut Tree House and its sister hospice, Worthing-based adults’ hospice St Barnabas House, generously gave 5,135 hours during 2017/18, saving the organisation a further £38,512.50.

Dee Willmott has volunteered at Chestnut Tree House since 2002, before the hospice first opened in 2003, working on reception.

Dee said: “When I first came, we only had two beds open.  But now, it’s a lot busier.  There is so much going on all the time, for example, the activity days during the holidays; we didn’t have those at the beginning.  We look after more families now and I have seen lots of new faces over the years.  And of course, we have lots more telephone calls and visitors, which keeps me busy!

“Chestnut Tree House is a big part of my life.  I come every Monday and it gives a structure to my week and the chance to give something back.  If I didn’t have Chestnut Tree House in my life, it would be a lot quieter!  But I can’t ever envisage not coming – I love it!”

In addition to volunteers at the hospice, Chestnut Tree House relies on the support of volunteers in other ways. This includes donating time to work in the charity’s shops, running fundraising stalls, helping at events, speaking to others in the community about Chestnut Tree House, and providing office support.

Steve Richards, HR and Voluntary Services Director at Chestnut Tree House said: “There is no greater gift someone can give to another person than time. Every day we have is precious and that so many volunteers choose to make the gift of using their time helping others through our volunteering opportunities is something that we cherish at Chestnut Tree House.

“I hope that every volunteer knows how much we value their commitment to the work we do together, helping people every day.”

Find out more about volunteering for Chestnut Tree House at www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/volunteering.