Meet Gill, who has been volunteering with Julia's House for 10 years, she tells us how she started her volunteering journey and shares some of her favourite things about the role:

I first became aware of Julia’s House when working for Dorset Social Services. Shortly after my retirement I was advised by an old friend, who was one of the Trustees of the charity, that they were looking for support with giving presentations to spread the word about Julia’s House and she arranged for me to meet them. I was so impressed with the work that Julia’s House was undertaking and wanted to support them to grow.

I initially volunteered as a Volunteer Speaker to help with giving presentations to local organisations who wanted to hear more about Julia’s House. At that time I was introduced to the Dorchester Friends of Julia’s House, which is a local fundraising group for the charity. Shortly after meeting them, a vacancy arose for a Chairman and I was asked to step into that role which I have been doing ever since. I also provide voluntary support at other fundraising events for the charity when needed, including leading tours of the hospice on their regular Open Days.

Julia's House volunteer Gill Slade poses with a life-sizes Paddington Bear character, she is holding a collection bucket and smiling at the camera

There are so many activities that I enjoy... Mainly it is about doing something worthwhile for a cause I fully support. Volunteering provides the opportunities to meet a wide variety of people, build friendship and support networks of fellow volunteers and the Julia’s House staff. I particularly enjoy the information sharing “Away Days” that the charity organises, bringing together the volunteers and staff, so that we can hear first-hand the latest news about the work of the charity.

There have been many stand-out moments but perhaps the most memorable is the look of joy on the faces of children when they win a special teddy at one of our teddy tombola events, or when they get to cuddle one of the special giant characters, especially Paddington Bear, that we take along to some of our fundraising events.

To anyone thinking about volunteering I would say Give it a try … you will receive a warm welcome.

Find out more about volunteering for Julia's House