A message of thanks is being sent to Mountbatten Volunteers at the start of what should have been a time of celebration marking National Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June 2020). 

This year’s annual event takes a very different tone, as many volunteers are having to shield themselves or self-isolate to protect themselves and highly vulnerable patients due to the coronavirus crisis. 

In a personal message to volunteers from Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten CEO, said: “Today (Monday) marks the start of national Volunteer Week 2020 and a chance to say ‘thank you’ to each and every one of our incredible volunteers. It is an opportunity to acknowledge their daily acts of kindness and support given to our Mountbatten Hampshire team, and those we care for across our organisation; in people’s own homes and on our hospice ward.” 

A number of volunteers have shared stories of how they are feeling during this period of isolation and these can be read on Mountbatten Hampshire’s website. Nigel continued, “They are very real stories about the feelings of guilt and isolation that some are feeling at this time, feelings which are often echoed by others across our community.  

“What strikes me is that even through this period of isolation, our volunteers have been finding new and alternative ways to continue their support – whether through fundraising activities, or by providing regular phone contact to our patients and families who are bereaved. No-one knows how much longer this situation will continue, or for how long restrictions to keep safe the most vulnerable patients in our community will last. Whatever happens, and whatever the shape of future volunteering, please know that your contributions over the past year have been outstanding and we thank you for everything you continue to do.” 

Mountbatten volunteer Amelia Buckley has been in isolation since 16 March and would normally be at the hospice on Mondays.

"I have truly missed volunteering at Mountbatten Hampshire. As I am retired (and very pleased that I am!) going into the hospice on a Monday morning helped to give my life not only routine and structure but a sense of usefulness as well.

"Being at home all of these weeks has made me feel somewhat redundant, useless and not part of society. I miss the friends that I work with, both other volunteers and staff.

"The cheerfulness and positivity radiates warmth, and says to both patients and their loved ones that it is a safe place to be. I remember all those years ago when my lovely late husband, David, and I first entered through the doors, it felt as if many arms drew us close and wrapped themselves around us to say 'you will be alright here, we will take great care of you' and although we can’t cure we can ease your journey.

"If you cry here, you never have to apologise for doing so, we will understand and comfort you.” 

For more stories from our Mountbatten Volunteers, visit https://www.mountbatten-hampshire.org.uk/Listing/Category/volunteers-week-2020