Ruth Freeman, CEO at The Myton Hospices introduces National Volunteers’ Week

I’ve been thinking about how to sum up what our volunteers mean to us for National Volunteers’ Week. It’s not as easy as it sounds when it’s such an important subject; considering what words I should use and how I can possibly do this incredibly important group of people justice has proved to be quite a dilemma. So, still scratching my head, I decided to look up the word ‘volunteer’ in the dictionary. There were many variations but this is one of the better definitions that I found:

someone who gives time, effort and talent to a need or cause without profiting monetarily.

This is, of course, an accurate description but what isn’t captured within these words (and perhaps it’s not possible to do so) is the real spirit and commitment of those who do so much for others without expecting anything in return.

With the dictionary still in my hand, I started to think about other words that I could use to write about our volunteers.

After writing yet another list (because lists usually work for me) the word ‘caring’ stood out because this is at the heart of what we do and what our volunteers endlessly demonstrate.

The list of definitions I found for ‘caring’ is extensive; compassionate, loving, kindly, warm, sensitive, tender, sympathetic, responsive, receptive, considerate, warmhearted and tenderhearted.

These may not be the words that the people working for the Oxford Dictionary would use to describe volunteers but then they haven’t met ours – perhaps I should write to them!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation.

Without all of the wonderful people that give up their time to support the work we do Myton would be a very different place.

Whether it’s working in one of our hospices with patients, making the gardens look beautiful, serving customers in one of our shops or marshalling at one of our events, our volunteers ensure that Myton can keep on caring. The breadth of roles that volunteers take on is as varied as the people that undertake them but all of our volunteers have one thing in common – a love of Myton and a true desire to help those going through a really tough time.

I also think that it’s worth mentioning that many of our staff give up their spare time to support Myton and this commitment too should be recognised in a week dedicated to volunteering.

I may have struggled to find the right words to express what our team of volunteers mean to Myton but one thing I know with absolute certainty is that without them we just wouldn’t be Myton.

I also know that there are 2 words that we just can’t say enough – THANK YOU!