A Welwyn Garden City-based hospice is desperately​ looking for new volunteers.

Isabel Hospice is urgently in need of more retail volunteers to help support its shops and raise vital funds for the palliative care it provides.

The eastern Hertfordshire-based charity is experiencing a huge volunteer gap, having seen a decline following the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently, the cost-of-living crisis.

Volunteering for the Hospice contributes hugely to changing the lives of people in the local community, who need specialist care and support living with a terminal or life-limiting illness.

However, Isabel Hospice currently needs volunteers to support its charity shops and retail team, in both front and back of house positions.

Charlotte Greenwood, Isabel Hospice’s Head of Retail and Marketing, said: “In the retail division of the charity alone, we need 100 volunteers to fill the shortfall we are currently experiencing, and that’s minimum!

"Sadly, the pandemic led to a vast downturn in volunteer numbers. Although we are seeing some recovery from that, we are now contending with the cost-of-living crisis, and people, understandably, needing to earn a wage.

"Saying that, our volunteer opportunities are vast, varied and very flexible, even giving two hours on an ad hoc basis, or a morning or afternoon of your time each week, would benefit us immensely.”

Of the urgent appeal, Charlotte added: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation.

"In fact, the equivalent of five full-time employees, volunteering and listing stock in our eBay shop, could generate almost £60,000 of income, paying for 2,142 nursing hours.”




Isabel Hospice has opportunities across all of retail – from sales assistant roles across its 15 shops, eBay listers and photographers, to van driving and stock sorting in the warehouse, ad hoc events support, and assistance in the Welwyn Garden City donation centre.

Any interest in retail, photography, visual merchandising, books, art, media (including vinyl records), antiques and collectables and online selling would make for a great retail volunteer.

In addition to being hugely rewarding, there are many benefits to volunteering, from learning new skills, or utilising existing skills, to gaining work experience and meeting new people.

There are mental health benefits too, with volunteering proven to boost dopamine levels, providing a sense of purpose and fulfilment and in turn, improving self-esteem.

Charlotte added: “Volunteering is an excellent way to remain active and engaged, particularly if you have recently retired or want to ease back into work after a period of inactivity.

"Or, if you are working from home, volunteering can provide a valuable opportunity to socialise and break away from the confines of your house for a few hours each week.

"It is also important to point out, particularly in this current climate, that if money for things like travelling to our shops is a barrier to volunteering, we do have an expenses policy available for all our volunteers.”


Isabel Hospice's volunteers

  • Meet Chris…

Chris is a volunteer in the ecommerce department at Isabel Hospice.

As a retired IT programmer, he decided to volunteer, knowing that his transferrable skills from his programming years would be particularly useful for the eBay online shop.

Only this month, the charity celebrated the sale of a rare Queen vinyl, auctioned through eBay and selling for £2,900, far above the estimated sales price.

Chris says about volunteering: “You come to the Hospice and everything you do will help. I wanted to work with a local charity, and the ecommerce team are all great to work with – such a mixed bunch!

"My family tell me that I have changed since I’ve started volunteering. I’m more engaged with what’s going on around me, more interested in people and as we are a big team, have lots of news to share with my family at the end of the day.”


  • Meet Vanessa…

Vanessa has worked as a volunteer in multiple areas of the charity, in Head Office, the Donation Centre, and also as shop support in both of the Welwyn Garden City shops.

As a mum of teenagers, she decided it was time to branch out and embark on a new and exciting life experience.

Vanessa says about volunteering: “I came to Isabel Hospice lacking confidence, and not sure what I wanted to do next. Since becoming a volunteer, I have gained more of a `sense of self’ and since discovered that I love meeting people and helping others.

"Volunteering has enabled me to develop a valuable set of skills and provided great work experience, all whilst having fun and feeling supported by a team who really care about me, and the local community.

"I have particularly enjoyed working in the shops as I get to meet people from all walks of life. I now have new focus and want to continue working in the charity retail sector.”


Want to know more or get involved?

Roles are available Monday to Sunday, across multiple sites in eastern Herts, and are open to anyone over 18.

People of all abilities from all walks of life are welcome, and no previous experience is necessary as training is provided.

For more information, email volunteer.office@isabelhospice.org.uk, or call Isabel’s volunteering engagement lead Caroline Baynes on 01707 382500 option 5. Details are also available at www.isabelhospice.org.uk/volunteer.

Don’t forget, you can also help support Isabel Hospice through donating unwanted goods to stock in Isabel’s shops. Please find guidelines about what can be accepted at www.isabelhospice.org.uk/what-to-donate.



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