Valuing our volunteers

I’m Andrea (in the centre of the photo) and I recently joined Wessex Cancer Support as Volunteer Co-ordinator. I look after all our volunteers – over 200 – across the charity to ensure they have the support they need to fulfill their role as our volunteers. I also help to recruit new volunteers across the charity.

Why do I work with volunteers?

I started as a Brownie, then volunteered in Scouting and Guiding. I loved the buzz of having an amazing team of volunteers and have worked with, and supported, volunteers ever since. Before coming to Wessex Cancer Support, I managed the local Volunteer and Information Centre, supporting organisations to recruit volunteers.

Why did I choose to come to Wessex Cancer Support?

I lost my Mum to cancer when I was 20, almost 30 years ago, when there was nothing around like our support centres. I didn’t know how to support my Dad losing his wife, nor him me. We were both grieving and neither of us had anyone else to share with or offload to. If only there had been support like this, then. Time and time again we hear the same story. My previous role led me to an open day at our Chandler’s Ford support centre. The moment I walked through the door to the centre, I knew that was where I wanted to be. The volunteers and staff were so welcoming. It was such a relaxing, calming environment and everyone there sang their praises. I wanted to be a part of that. Soon after, I heard that they were looking for someone to support their volunteers, and the rest is history!

Why do people volunteer for us?

Everyone volunteers for their own reason – from developing new skills to finding a way to give back, for fulfilment. Since joining the charity, I’ve been spending time getting to know our volunteers across our four centres, five shops, fundraising and our head office. It’s been such an honour, so humbling and a real pleasure. Here’s a snapshot of why they volunteer with us:

Geoffrey, Befriender

“In early 2017, I came to you as a cancer patient after my operation and received SO much emotional support with counselling, Yoga, befriending and therapy. Everyone was lovely and I wanted to return the compliment. No one chooses this illness and a diagnosis can be devastating. I’ve been a befriender for six years now and am also a community ambassador. Talking to others is something I do well and if I can help just one person it is all worth it. It’s great to work with a charity where everyone is so supportive of each other. It makes the whole volunteering experience enjoyable and truly worth it.”

Retail Assistant

“Supporting people and their families after their cancer diagnosis is much needed. I wanted to give my support in a way I could, so I volunteer in the shop. People come in and buy from us because they know the money is helping people at the heart of their community. You really feel that you’re making a difference.”

Sue, Befriender

“I’ve worked in the health service for 50 years as a radiographer/mammographer. I’ve seen how busy the health service has become and how valuable support outside of it is. I joined after a friend, who was a client, told me about the charity. I started volunteering about four years ago and love every minute of it. I’ve met so many awe-inspiring clients during that time.”

Shiel, Befriender

“When I retired from the NHS, someone suggested to me that as Wessex Cancer Support was opening a support centre in Bournemouth, why didn’t I apply? I took a break in 2020 during lockdown, when I was diagnosed with cancer, and returned to volunteering in 2021. I consider it a privilege to be able to offer a listening ear and support our clients, whilst often having a laugh. Often, people just want to relax and chat, it’s not always about their cancer. We support our clients in so many ways and I’m proud to be part of the team.”

Gill, Befriender

“I started my breast cancer journey in May 2019. I picked up a leaflet about Wessex Cancer Support whilst waiting in oncology at Bournemouth hospital. On my first visit to the support centre, I was welcomed by Wendy and was referred for hypnotherapy. Once my cancer treatment was over, I wanted to give back to this amazing charity. I’ve volunteered for about a year now and feel blessed to be part of this multi-skilled and fabulous team. I feel humbled meeting our clients whose journeys with cancer are so very personal. A tea, chat and friendly smile can make such a difference.”

If you volunteer for Wessex Cancer Support, you’ll make a difference to the lives of those you meet.

We’ll make sure that you’re supported and valued as a volunteer, because without you we couldn’t provide vital emotional support to people affected by cancer. We have more than 200 volunteers across our four centres, five shops, fundraising and head office. Every person makes a difference and we need more amazing volunteers to grow and continue to provide support into the future.

If you’d like to volunteer with us, please email or click the link below

See how you can make a difference. We have lots of roles available!