How volunteers help drive the facility forward

Volunteer drivers Brian Shaw and Roy Sadler.
Volunteer drivers Brian Shaw and Roy Sadler.
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Great-grandfather Brian Shaw took to the road to support the hospice after retiring.

Brian, who worked in the refuse and cleansing department at Lancaster City Council for 33 years, now spends three days a week helping out at the hospice by transporting clients to and from the charity’s day centre, the Oak Centre.

“I took early retirement two years ago and I needed something to do,” the 63-year-old said.

“My brother-in-law was already doing the volunteer driving so he suggested to me that I apply and I got the job.

“I needed something worthwhile to do that still involved me getting out and about and meeting people.”

Brian, who has three adult daughters, four grandchildren and a great grand-daughter, believes offering a friendly ear can often help support those using the hospice’s services.

“People will attend the day centre for a 16 week period and we keep to the same clients so we get to know them and build up quite a rapport with them,” he said.

“I think some of the people like having someone to talk to. You listen to them if they want to talk, and sometimes they will talk about all sorts of things in their life.”

Since starting his volunteering, Brian has met many people who don’t understand the work that goes on at the charity.

“People often have a misconception of the hospice,” he said. “You mention it and people think it’s all doom and gloom but it’s not; the people involved are making the best of things and are as happy as they can be.

“The hospice is not as a lot of people see it – I have talked to many people and put them right about it. I didn’t know exactly what went on there before I started volunteering, but people don’t just go in there to die, they can go in just for a couple of weeks.

“A lot of people think you go in there and you are not coming out again. You couldn’t want for better staff there either.

“We all get on; there are a lot of people volunteering there as well as the nurses, and everyone is very friendly.”

Brian, who is married to Ann and lives in Morecambe, now hopes to spread the word about how vital volunteering is to the hospice.

“I feel as if I am fulfilling something in my life and doing some good; it may only be volunteer driving but it’s helping people and it’s helping the hospice to save money.

“I would certainly recommend it to anyone who had the time and wanted to do something useful with their life.

“There are all sorts of things that people can do to help the hospice.”