Being from Barry, I’ve always known about Tŷ Hafan, and I used to frequently walk my dogs along the coast path that lined the beautiful hospice gardens. And in November 2018 when I went along to a volunteers fair run by the Glamorgan Volunteering Services (GVS), I found Tŷ Hafan.
"It all came at the right time — the charity needed me and I needed them. So I applied for volunteering position there and then."
Over the last few years, I was a full-time carer. But when my husband passed away last year I felt like I was at a loose end.
I had my amazing grandchildren and family around who supported me so much and kept me occupied for a while, but I felt like I needed to do something worthwhile with my time; something for myself that also helped others.
I was so surprised at how calm and pleasant the hospice was. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but there is such a wonderfully happy atmosphere there. It made me feel even more passionate about dedicating my time and volunteering for the charity.
Back in my working days I was a typist, so I specified that I’d like to volunteer in an administrative role; something I could get my teeth stuck into. (But also, putting me in a Tŷ Hafan shop would’ve been a nightmare… I would’ve been tempted to spend far too much money!).
James and the supporter care team made me feel so welcome from day one. And I’ve enjoyed coming to the head office so much so that I’ve upped my volunteering days from one day a week to two. There are so many ways I can help the team, whether it’s indexing file streams or printing or scanning, I can just get my head down and get on with it. It’s right up my street.
One thing that always surprises me though is the number of people who thank me. After the end of every day my team all say “thanks so much, Linda” — and I say, “I don’t come here for a thanks!”
But it’s nice to know that you’re very appreciated as a volunteer here at Tŷ Hafan.
If you’re doing something for yourself, it’s so easy to say “oh, I’ll just wait until tomorrow” — but that tomorrow never comes. But volunteering is the best of both because you’re getting yourself out and about but also helping others. It gives you that feeling of reward and happiness at the end of the day when you think about the difference you’ve made.
And that’s why I’d encourage anyone who needs a new focus or wants to help others to looking into volunteering. I couldn’t recommend a more worthwhile and supportive organisation than Tŷ Hafan — it’s a wonderful place.