Hello, my name is Barbara and I am a Receptionist at Willow Wood Hospice. I am one of the band of volunteers who man the Reception desk 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I was first introduced to the Hospice about 13 years ago when a dear friend spent the last weeks of her life at the Hospice. Like many people I had never visited the Hospice before and was struck by the kindness and care shown by everyone. Shortly after this I decided that I would like to help at the Hospice and applied to be a volunteer on Reception. I have just clocked up 10 years in the job and still enjoy it.
I am one of the Receptionists that do the 8.30-1pm shift on Tuesdays. I like to arrive a few minutes early to familiarise myself with what’s gone on in the week and prepare for the day ahead.
My duties are varied - the Reception desk is also the switchboard for the Hospice and we are kept busy answering calls and giving and receiving information. We also take donations from people who call in with money they have raised for the Hospice and monies from the sale of items in our lovely Reception shop.
An important part of my job, in fact I see it as the most important, is putting visitors at their ease. We have a busy Day Services/ Lymphodoema/ Family support/ Out patients clinic on a Tuesday. Some of the people coming to these clinics have never been to the Hospice before, and like the visitors coming to see a family member in the Inpatients unit, it can be a daunting experience walking into the Hospice for the first time. As Receptionists we are the first person the visitor sees and see it as our role to greet them with a smile and try to reassure them if they are nervous or upset.
What do I get out of volunteering? Well, I certainly don’t get paid in money but get so much more out of my job from knowing in a small way I am helping the community. I have also made some good friends over the years and feel a valued member of the Willow Wood team and hope to be able to help the Hospice for many years to come.