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Latest Volunteering at Willow Wood Leads to New Career in Nursing

Volunteering at Willow Wood not only benefits the Hospice, but can lead to many opportunities for our volunteers. For Michael Buxton, volunteering helped him find a totally new career path. Here’s his story:

“Back in early 2019 I’d been going through a few personal issues and a friend suggested I do some voluntary work before introducing me to Elaine, one of the fundraisers at Willow Wood. After speaking to her I went straight to the website for a good look at everything.

Long story short, I applied and as part of the interview, Lisa, volunteer services manager showed me round and introduced me to the nursing team and the volunteer ward assistant. To be honest, I never thought I would be able to work on the ward as I didn't think it was for me. I had no experience working/interacting with patients and medical staff, but after seeing the ward, talking to the staff and asking lots of questions which they were more than happy to answer I decided to go for it and started volunteering in April.

After volunteering for the Hospice and seeing what the staff do for the patients, it made me think about what I wanted to do in life as a career. Since the age of 16 I have mainly worked in retail, but after being completely inspired by the amazing nursing team who are so dedicated to caring for the patients, I am proud to say at the age of 45, and following a long 3 month process I have switched careers and will be starting work on 7th June 2021 at Manchester Royal Infirmary as an NHS Apprentice Nursing Assistant on the Orthopaedic & Trauma Ward.

This is a million miles from anything I have ever done. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time, and it thanks to Willow Wood for giving me a chance to work with all the amazing staff and the other volunteers at the Hospice. Who would have thought volunteering a few hours a week on a Hospice ward would completely change my career from a retail one to a caring one! I know by doing this new job it will also change my life in many ways. I am also looking forward to coming back to the hospice to continue volunteering as soon as restrictions are lifted.

I would definitely recommend anyone to come and volunteer for Willow Wood. You are guaranteed a warm welcome and will be part of amazing team. They are so many different volunteering roles, there is something for everyone and all are as equally as important as each other.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering at Willow Wood, please go to our volunteering pages for more information or email

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