Volunteering at Arthur Rank

02/07/2015

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Arthur Rank is a local hospice that provides specialist palliative care for adults and their friends and families in the Cambridgeshire area; currently it is funded partly by the NHS and partly through Arthur Rank Charity. I have started my work there at a very busy period as Arthur Rank is now fundraising to build their new hospice which will enable them to care for more patients in the future. Arthur Rank has also been chosen to be one of the beneficiary charities for the ‘Cambridge Roar’ this year, which involves 18 events in 23 days.

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I really enjoy the work I do here as there is such a wide variety of jobs to be done, so it keeps me on my toes. I go from scrubbing and relabeling donation buckets to observing hole-in-ones at charity golf days! What makes it better is that you know that what you are doing is making a huge difference to people and their families, and that everyone is so appreciative of your contribution.
Not only has it been great experience for me personally, I’ve also had the opportunity to attend some exciting events such as a Business Exhibition and a ‘Sporting Heroes Dinner’. The best memories so far have been volunteering at some of these amazing events that have been held at the Quy Mill Hotel in Cambridgeshire as part of the Cambridge Roar, just being part of such brilliant events and knowing how it’s going to help others is a great feeling.

During my work experience and time volunteering at events I’ve met other volunteers along the way. Speaking to some of these volunteers has definitely widened my views about volunteering and charity work, especially as I have never done much of either before. I think people’s perceptions of volunteering can sometimes be quite narrow however there are such a wide range of things you could volunteer for, especially within Arthur Rank. I’ve met people who do the gardening, who count money and work in the finance department, people who cook for the patients and people who manage the tea and coffee bar – there are so many different jobs that need doing!

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My specific work at the Arthur Rank has been working within the charity team. I have helped out with some of the organisation of events that have been going on doing a variety of jobs such as compiling data bases, producing prize posters for auctions and raffles and researching into items needed for events. I have also been able to volunteer at many of the events that I have been helping to organise, so it’s been really rewarding to see what my work has led up to. Once my work experience period had ended I was also lucky enough to be asked to stay on within the charity team for some temporary paid work as an admin assistant; not only was this further experience for me but it made me feel really appreciated and meant I was remaining involved with the work at Arthur Rank.

The only downside I can think of to volunteering for the fundraising team is that you never know what exact job or event you could be helping out as the events are so diverse. For me, I don’t see this as a negative as I like to be kept on my toes and being part of a range of different activities. But if you’re not such a big fan of that, then you could maybe volunteer for a specific department within the hospice so you have more of a regular pattern and know a bit more what you’re getting yourself into every time you help out!

I have had such a good response from people when they hear about the work I’m doing with Arthur Rank, especially as it’s a local hospice. I’ve even managed to get some friends and family volunteering at a few events – including getting my dad up in the early hours on a Sunday morning to help out!

My advice to anyone that has never done charity work before is to go for it. It may sound generic but it really does make you feel good about yourself when you’re doing work that you know is hugely benefitting others. Even if you’re still young you can still use it to gain some great experience. I would say don’t be worried that you’ve never done any charity work before or that you’re not the right age to help, just use any skills or interests that you have and see how they could fit into volunteering – you could even use a talent like swimming or music to help create a small fundraising event for charity. If you did want to look into volunteering at Arthur Rank all you need to do is visit our website arhc.org.uk and click on ‘join us’ or call the voluntary services team on 01223 723117.

I’ll admit I did first see my work experience at Arthur Rank as mostly great experience for myself, however I really feel like I’ve got involved with the charity and the work it does that it has opened my eyes to something new and worthwhile. My hope for my work is that I’ve helped in some small way to build the new brilliant hospice for Arthur Rank and I’d love to perhaps do a sponsored event that could help raise money for the charity in the future.

I love living near Cambridge because there such a great mix of things to do, you could spend the morning walking around the colleges and then in the afternoon go for a drink in a modern roof top terrace bar. I also like that it’s quite a unique place especially when it comes to things like cycling and punting. My favourite free thing to do in Cambridge is probably just spending time in summer around some of the open spaces like Parkers Piece and Christ’s pieces; they have free table tennis tables, bats and balls to use and they even had a street piano visit there before where anyone could play!

There are a few fun facts that I could share with you ;
1) People often tell me that my famous look-a-like is a young Drew Barrymore (although I don’t see this myself)
2) For Christmas I once brought my brother a baby Giant African Land Snail which turned out to be really really giant!
3) If I could have one wish it would be the ability to fly
My personal ambition apart from my charity work and my career goals I would love to be able to say I have visited every continent in the world, I’ve only been to Europe and Africa so far.

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