Since joining Jellybean 12 years ago I have been donating regularly to my local charity – The Princess Alice Hospice. A charity committed to ensuring the best end of life care, as well as supporting families in making the most of their time with a loved one and after bereavement.

Having spent many years speaking to Anita the Manager and, as a gift aider, receiving updates about the funds raised from my donations, Jellybean’s 12 Days of Christmas gave me the opportunity to learn more about the Esher based hospice – which is the first in the UK to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.

84 pence of every single pound raised is spent on providing care and support, last year the charity raised £9.9million and is supported by 1,300 volunteers who donate time to the shops, gardening at the hospice, catering, reception and fundraising.

I spoke to Anita about Jellybean’s 12 Days of Christmas initiative:

“Eight out of ten of our volunteers are people who have come into contact with Princess Alice and it’s their way of saying thank you and giving back. Volunteers are so important to the hospice, without them we couldn’t function. Many are run on a shoestring, we need a lot of volunteers for the shop to be a success, so any volunteering is appreciated.”

And what a busy shop it was! On a daily basis Anita receives bags of donations which need to be sorted through, in between running the bustling shop. With just her and another volunteer to help, I was quickly put to work to sort through donations. Deciding what was suitable for the shop, bagging for spring-summer and recycling – the charity receives money for textiles so it’s worth donating old clothes, towels and blankets with a note to say ready to recycle. After sorting it was then tagging, pricing and steaming all the items before putting them out on the floor.

Speaking to Anita and seeing how hard she works to make the shop a success (the woman doesn’t sit down!) made me realise how vital volunteering is, every year the charity’s shops contribute 8% of the total funds raised by the hospice – over £700,000! Vital funds that are only possible with the support of passionate volunteers.

If you have some time to spare and live in Surrey, please think of the Princess Alice Hospice – – and help them care for the 800 patients and their families they support.

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