Natalie Platts has been volunteering her time in the PR & Marketing team. She will be moving on shortly to have her second baby. We found out why she is happy to lend a helping hand.

"This is my first role at a charity since leaving the corporate world - seeing the hard work and effort that people put in to working at a charity is inspirational and a lot of them are volunteers. It's refreshing to work with people for whom the end goal is about more than just direct profit and knowing that the work I put in is having a direct impact on somebody's quality of life is rewarding. All the work I completed during my time here was focused on one goal – gaining more people to take part in our events, thus raising vital funds for the running of Michael Sobell Hospice and the quality of life for the patients. Working at a Hospice makes you realise how short life really is and you never know what is around the corner.”

Why did you decide to volunteer for MSH?

My Grandma was treated in the Hospice many years ago and my family and I often take part in and support the fundraising events. I was fortunate to take voluntary redundancy from my marketing role at a previous organisation which allowed me time to do some marketing volunteering at the Hospice.  I have always wanted to give something back and this was my opportunity to do this.

How did you hear about the volunteer vacancy?

I looked on the Michael Sobell Hospice website and contacted Victoria Mansell (Volunteer Services Officer) directly offering my skills and expertise.

What have you enjoyed about the role? 

The variety of work has been great. I have worked on both on and offline channels.  Coming from a large corporate background where we used to pay agencies to work on these things, my volunteering role has allowed me to have much more of a ‘hands-on’ approach in marketing, which I greatly enjoyed.  I have written press releases which I had not done before. I have had the opportunity to gain exposure to different levels and teams within the organisation too and build relationships with these people.

What skills have you acquired since volunteering?

Using tools such as Google Analytics, which I had heard about in my previous role.  I also further expanded my knowledge of social media. When I started at Michael Sobell, I had used Facebook and only at a push because my friends had posted pictures of weddings on there that I wanted to see. This role has given me the opportunity to see how we can use social media for Fundraising & PR purposes and help promote the work of the Hospice. I have now learnt the correct use of hashtag and @ sign and how business can benefit from shared PR in this way.

Would you recommend volunteering at MSH to other people?

Yes absolutely – and the fact it is for all ages. I only wanted to work in the PR & Marketing team in the Fundraising office as I believed that this utilised my skillset the best, but there are so many more roles available across Michael Sobell. This varies from the Fundraising office where I worked to the Warehouse and the sorting of donations, to volunteer gardening, manning stands at our events or even helping out in the charity shops.  Volunteering enables people to gain new skills and meet like-minded people.  Volunteering helped keep my mind active whilst I was not in paid employment. After volunteering for a few months, I began to apply for paid roles and was offered interviews where I was told at the interviews that my volunteering experience made my application stand out from the rest. I would encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to do it. Not only will you be helping a great cause, keeping your mind active and meeting new people but if you’re looking for paid employment in the future, it will give you some extra skills to add to your CV.

Natalie-Platt-Volunteer-March-2016

All of our volunteers are special to us.

Eddie O' Sullivan has been volunteering for Michael Sobell Hospice for over 22 years and has now finally decided to retire.  He has worked tirelessly behind the scenes at Michael Sobell Hospice on all matters financial to ensure that our charity runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. He has saved us thousands of pounds over the years to make sure that every penny donated counts. He has also been involved in many of our fundraising events either taking part or helping out including our annual Ladies in the Night Walk, Santa Dash, Quiz Night and Woodland Walk.

Eddie reached the finals of the Hillingdon Local Heroes Awards which honour many of the Hillingdon Borough's community volunteers, carers, fundraisers and unsung heroes.  He was awarded a 'Highly Commended' certificate for his tireless energy and commitment to Michael Sobell Hospice.

Eddie said: " I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as both treasurer and a trustee, but I believe this is the right time to retire. I think I deserve a rest, although I’m not sure that it’s coming just yet!."

Eddie