To mark Volunteers’ Week, Estelle Condliff explains why she volunteers for her local children’s hospice and the difference it makes.
Estelle, 62, has been making a difference at Claire House since the 90s, when she worked as a Producer at BBC Radio Merseyside. During this time, she would broadcast “how wonderful volunteering was”, and eventually became a volunteer herself when she had the chance.
Estelle, who lives in Birkenhead, originally started by fundraising with her mum Pat, and sister Lesley. The three of them would organise events at Pat’s caravan park in Wales. Estelle’s inspiration came from watching one of the hospice’s first fundraisers, Hilary, speak on the Roger Phillips Programme. “I felt touched by everything said about the hopes and dreams of Claire’s family, after whom the hospice is named”, she says.
That was just the beginning of Estelle’s fundraising journey, as she is still fundraising to this day. “I love to do what I can for Claire House, as the charity is so dear to my heart.”
Estelle says fundraising can be so easy too, due to the incredible support of the Claire House team. “Whether you need help with a social event, sporting occasion or something else, Claire House has everything you need.”
“Fundraising can be as simple as picking up a collection box for an event you are holding. I got a collection box for my 60th birthday breakfast and raised £500! A sum of money like that is such a helpful contribution. It can be used to pay for a day out for several teenagers, counselling for a family, new play equipment and more!”
“Being able to fundraise and also volunteer for the charity still gives me a wonderful sense of achievement and satisfaction to this day,” says Estelle
Estelle volunteers on hospice reception and also leads a therapeutic support group for families. These experiences have given her the means to make so many new relationships: “Being able to give visitors, parents and staff reassurance and support is a great feeling and I’ve always left the building with a sense of belonging.”
Estelle cares deeply for the charity and the people who are a part of it. She adds; “Every department in the hospice from Nursing and Family Support to Housekeeping and Fundraising really does feel like one big wonderful family!”
One of Estelle’s most memorable moments at the hospice was when the BBC Children in Need team visited. “Pudsy Bear, Roger Johnson and Owain Evans all helped raise awareness of the wonderful work we do at the hospice, alongside Claire Bear, and one of Claire House’s supported families. There was a great atmosphere and real sense of excitement for everyone involved that day.
“There have been so many memorable times at the hospice. Personally I love Christmas. The decorations and festivities make the hospice become even more alive! There is a sense of togetherness – like you can only get at Christmas!”
As Claire House is a charity close to the hearts of Estelle and her family, they have added the charity to their wills. She says; “There is no better way to leave a personal legacy. A donation to Claire House allows the charity to be able to carry out its vital work….forever.”
It is volunteers like Estelle who make Claire House what it is today. They make a huge impact on how our charity runs and allow it to reach more sick and terminally ill children.
This week for Volunteers’ Week Claire House would like to say thank you, to Estelle, and all of its other wonderful volunteers.
To find out more about volunteering at Claire House visit: clairehouse.org.uk/howyoucanhelp/volunteering-claire-house