Maggie has been volunteering at Grove House in St Albans for almost ten years.
Having known people who had received care at Grove House, she was keen to volunteer there and met with the volunteering manager to discuss options.
Maggie had spent her working life in catering and was keen to have a total change in her retirement and take on a desk-based role.
Maggie’s first voluntary role was with the clinical admin team for the Hospice at Home nurses who were, at the time, based at Grove House. She says:
“I was volunteering in the nursing office at Grove House – updating patient records and maintaining nursing supplies. Just before the pandemic started I was working on moving to a paperless system so was involved in archiving paperwork and transitioning to the new system.”
During the pandemic, with Grove House closed to patients and some of the admin functions at Rennie Grove moving to a different office, Maggie found herself with spare time at home. She says:
“I couldn’t continue my usual volunteering role but I still wanted to do something to help. I have always enjoyed sewing and decided to start making fabric face masks. I sold some to friends and family which made enough money to invest in fabric and elastic. I then decided to start making them on a bigger scale to sell, with the proceeds going to Rennie Grove. I made between 300-400 during the pandemic. I set up a bit of a production line at home and even needed to buy a new sewing machine to keep up with demand! It was a great way to keep me occupied and focused, and it was wonderful to see them selling so well and raising money for Rennie Grove.”
When Grove House reopened after the pandemic, Maggie was keen to restart her office-based volunteering. This time she decided to work on the reception desk and now covers one or two shifts per week, taking phone calls, welcoming visitors and ensuring the smooth running of the reception.
“It was great to try something new and it pushed me out of my comfort zone once again. At first I was terrified of answering the phone in case I pressed the wrong buttons to transfer the call! But of course I had great training and know there’s always support on hand if I need it.
“One of the things I love most is the chance to meet new people. As well as the patients and families that we meet at Grove House, I get to work with a whole range of other receptionists. The shifts all have a handover period which is a nice opportunity to speak to the other reception volunteers.
“I really like that the shifts are very flexible. If I find I need to change a shift, I can speak to the other volunteers and find somebody to cover it. I’ve even recruited some of my friends as reception volunteers so I know they’ll always help me out with a shift if they can!
“I love volunteering for Rennie Grove and like to help out wherever I can locally. As well as my work at Grove House I’ve helped with various fundraising collections on the High St and supported at the Sounds Around the Abbey event.”
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