Our volunteers play a vital role in fulfilling our mission to fight cancer. We sat down with Sheila, who volunteers in the Beatson Cafe, and asked her a few questions about her experience.
Q. How long have you been volunteering for Beatson Cancer Charity, Sheila?
I started volunteering with the Beatson in February 2015, so 2 years.
Q. What does your role involve?
My first role involved fundraising i.e. standing with a bucket at various places plus bag packing. I also helped out in the Supporter Care office helping to send out appeals, general admin duties and I have helped make up and post out Christmas Card orders. In I think it was the autumn of 2015 I was told about the cafe and asked if I would like to volunteer there. I said I would give it a go and thank goodness they did, I just love it. I now do one 4 hour shift and some ad hoc ones if they are short of volunteers. Duties include setting up in the morning, operating the tea / coffee machines, some food preparation, taking orders and operating the till and clearing down at night. Most people have a preference to what they want to do and it all works really well and all it takes is a commitment on your behalf for a 4 hour shift a week.
Q. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I have volunteered for some years fundraising with Cats Protection and I was also a Host City Volunteer in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games so volunteering was something I enjoyed and I had always wanted to become more involved in. Through a post from a Facebook friend from the Commonwealth Games I found out about the newly formed Beatson Cancer Charity and knew straight away this was for me. I had always wanted to get involved with the Beatson as my husband Billy had been diagnosed some years before with cancer, the outcome was not the one we wanted, but through the treatment and care he received at the Beatson we had 18 wonderful months together. I felt this would be a good way to repay the Beatson for everything they had done for Billy and myself so I contacted them and started fundraising with them.
Q. What do you enjoy most volunteering for the Charity?
I enjoy the camaraderie with the other volunteers, the staff and, of course, the patients. The patients who come to us are on a very difficult journey and if we can help that journey with a friendly smile, a cheery hello and a cup of tea then we are doing our job right. I have to say the patients enjoy the combination of happy service and good food and are very appreciative of what we do.
Q. In what ways do you feel the volunteers support the charity and patients?
As a cafe volunteer I believe that we support the charity by serving good food with a cheery smile and raising lots of money and we support the patients by ensuring that their experience of the cafe is a good one.
There are many other volunteer roles which support the charity and the patients including the Wellbeing Centre, the tea trolley service and the welcome desk, everyone plays their part.
Q. What makes The Beatson special in your view?
A cancer diagnosis really is life changing and is just the start of the journey but with the facilities at The Beatson, both medical and personal, it does make that journey a bit easier. All the staff, whether medical admin or ancillary and of course the volunteers, make The Beatson a very special place and each play there part. More research is needed into this dreadful illness to help improve the prognosis and the Beatson is heavily involved in that too.
Q. What would you say to encourage someone to volunteer for Beatson Cancer Charity?
Come and join us, volunteering gives you such a lift, it is a great way make new friends, to help others and most importantly help in the fight against cancer.