My week volunteering at St Richard’s Hospice has been brilliant! I’ve loved every bit of it. I started on Monday; the first thing I did was to get a tour of the hospice. It’s a lovely building, everything looks so new. There is a whole project underway, it’s called ‘Build 2020’. Thanks to the public’s donations there’s going to be an extension and redevelopment of old buildings. I was doing my work experience in the communications department. There’s only three people in the office but they put me to work straight away.
I was able to sit in on a meeting on my first day. It was about training shop managers on how to use Facebook; it was interesting as I’ve never actually sat in on a meeting before. The next big thing I did was interview a volunteer, Val. She has been working at St Richard’s now for 10 years. Later in the week I also interviewed another volunteer called Keith. He’s been here for 3 years, the work he does is important, like counting donations. Both have interesting lives outside of volunteering too. It makes you think about the type of people who make places like this work. When I got back to the office – I wrote articles about them. Which has helped me a lot, it’s given me a flavour of the kind of thing journalists do. A similar task I did, which has really helped me was writing press releases. They are written in a certain style and discovering how you write them was useful.
Part of communications is research. I did a lot of research on the computer in the office. The best bit was educating everyone else about Snapchat and looking into potentially setting up a St Richard’s Snapchat – it’s amazing, there are so many little details that go into eventually getting a finished product, which I didn’t realise, it’s not as simple as just setting up an account. The phone is always going off in communications for the team to take a photo of one thing or another. This time it was about a new fundraising initiative to do with the lottery. So, we went down to the opening, armed with a camera and I asked questions and the idea is you then go and write about it for the website or a Facebook post.
I would like to thank everyone at St Richard’s – especially Helen, Hannah and Alice, who are in the communications office. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and I learnt a lot of skills that will no doubt help me in my future career path. There’s a great and hard-working team behind St Richard’s Hospice and it could not run without them!