Get involved and become a CHAS volunteer in Community
Ever thought about volunteering? Why not give some time to CHAS? Jamie and Hazel talk about their experiences:
What is CHAS?
Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) is a Scottish charity that provides vital hospice services for children and young people with life-shortening conditions.
What would I do as a volunteer?
As a volunteer you could be involved in many different areas of work. Opportunities are available in the CHAS shops, in Rachel House and Robin House and with CHAS at Home. Throughout Scotland there are roles in public speaking, placing collecting cans and helping out in Friends Groups.
What's it like?
Karen has been involved with CHAS for a number of years, starting when she was younger by selling Christmas cards and holding raffles at Easter to raise money. In 2010 she became a volunteer at the kitchen in Rachel House, and has been lucky enough to work with the care team there as part of her nursing placement.
"After being invited on a tour around Rachel House, I was keen to do more for the hospice and become a volunteer. In July 2010, I started volunteering in the kitchen, helping prepare meals for the young people, their families and the staff."
And it's not just Karen who has been helping out - her brother Calum started working in the kitchen last year, volunteering on a weekly basis.
"The staff along with everyone else make Calum and I feel so welcome – from the minute we walked through the door on our first day to the second we finish each and every shift – they always show their appreciation which makes it all worthwhile."
Hazel mainly takes part in bag packs and bucket shakes, as well as some one off events. Even though she doesn't work with the children and families, she's found being a volunteer with CHAS can be emotional.
"I volunteered at the Edinburgh ladies lunch and at one point there was not a single dry eye in the house. That will be a day I never forget. I will also never forget it because I got to listen to Michelle McManus sing live – childhood dreams have become a reality!"
Hazel decided to volunteer in 2014 after she had personal experience of losing a friend who was only 8 years old, and seeing how CHAS acted as a lifeline at a difficult time.
"By giving up two hours of my weekend, I hope that the money raised gives the children and their families a little bit more freedom in what will be the most difficult time of their lives."
Should I go for it?
Here's what Hazel has to say:
"If you are unsure whether you should volunteer for CHAS then my advice would be to go for it, even if you just try as a day helper to get a feel for it. Being a volunteer has so many benefits and has given me so many opportunities that I would have never expected when I first started."
And Karen has this to say about her time there:
"It’s a privilege to help at the hospice, stopping volunteering has not even entered my head and I hope to be there for many more years as it’s just a great place to be involved with.”
Interested? Check out the CHAS website and get involved. Check out our other #iwill opportunities on our campaign page.