Volunteer for EACH’s Help at Home service

Volunteers have the chance to make an “invaluable, life-changing” contribution by helping families receiving support from a leading children’s hospice.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) is keen to hear from anyone willing to spare some time and join its Help at Home team.

Volunteers are matched with the family of a child receiving care at one of its three hospices, in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They then have an opportunity to provide vital practical support with things like gardening, shopping, cooking, vacuuming, dusting, washing, ironing and dog-walking. Other roles include looking after pets and sibling support, including helping children and young people with their homework.

EACH Help at Home Volunteer Co-ordinator Anne Rayner said: “The service is so important because it gives families much-needed support with everyday tasks – things they may otherwise struggle to get done amid their busy lives. It takes the pressure off and, from a volunteering perspective, it gives people the opportunity to forge relationships and directly help. It’s hugely rewarding and something people enjoy doing.We can never have enough pairs of hands so I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch. The role can be as flexible as you like and we can make arrangements to fit in with people’s commitments.”

Volunteers do not need to commit to a regular time slot and training and support is provided. In addition to more regular roles, one-off projects could include decorating, painting, clearing out rooms and helping families move house.

“All you need to give is your time, either to help regularly or as a one-off project,” added Anne. Whether you can spare two hours a week or two a month, it’ll have a real impact on the families we support. Help at Home makes an invaluable, life-changing difference to our families. It gives them a real lift and means they can focus on the care of their child, either being there to look after them or creating precious memories together.”

There is regular training throughout the year. “Our training days are very informal and take place within a friendly, welcoming atmosphere,” said Anne. “Our volunteers enjoy meeting and chatting and we always stop to enjoy lunch together, as well as having a hospice tour. We cover various topics and the idea is to prepare people, so they don’t have unanswered questions by the time they go into a family’s home. It gives us a chance to get to know them and vice versa. This is such an important service, especially as we cover such a vast area. Families have our amazing hospices but some may live a distance away, so having help and support in their town or village is vitally important”.

“In short, we need volunteers everywhere and would love to hear from anyone keen to get involved. Whatever time they can spare is appreciated, be it on a weekly, fortnightly or ad hoc basis, and will make such a difference. We’d love to hear from anyone interested in joining us, as long as they’re over 18.”

To read more about Help at Home, click here.

For more information about the service, head to the EACH website, email volunteerservices@each.org.uk or call 01223 800800 (select option four).