Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice championed the dedication of its volunteers this month with a special ruby-themed celebration.

The Selly Park-based hospice, which is celebrating 40 years of care this year, hosted three thank you events during National Volunteers Week – a national awareness campaign that highlights the importance of volunteering across the UK.

Taking place on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 June, the events recognised and praised the commitment of the Hospice’s volunteers who give up their time for free to support local people and their loved ones who are living with life-limiting illness.

Volunteers were treated to ruby-themed food and drinks including a red velvet cake, a fun raffle, and a quiz which focussed on the Hospice’s proud history.

Polly Patel, who has been volunteering at the Hospice for over three years, is just one of the Hospice’s generous volunteers who attended a thank you event. She regularly gives up her time for the charity’s ‘Support at Home’ service, which sees Polly visit patients and carers in their own homes to offer practical, social and emotional support. She also supports the fundraising team and often helps out at events or acts as an ambassador at community functions.

She said: “Ever since I joined the Hospice team three years ago, I have loved every moment of volunteering. Whether it’s making a patient smile or cheering someone on at a fun run, seeing the positive impact you can bring to others is what makes volunteering so rewarding.

“I’ve made some great friends at the Hospice and really do feel part of a big family, so it’s lovely to spend time with fellow volunteers and see our dedication acknowledged at the thank you events. I always feel that my work is valued by the Hospice and it’s heartening to know that the few hours I do give up is making a difference to others in our communities.”

Since caring for their first patient in 1979, Birmingham St Mary’s services have grown significantly and the Hospice is now caring for over 400 people on any given day – supporting individuals in their home, in the community and at the Hospice itself. This would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of its volunteers who give up their time to help raise funds, offer a listening ear, support with admin, catering, gardening and much more.

Tina Swani, chief executive at Birmingham St Mary’s, attended the events to thank volunteers in person. She said: “Right from the very start, volunteers have been crucial in making sure the Hospice can provide such a wide range of care to people living across Birmingham and Sandwell. Before the Hospice had even opened in 1979, it was volunteers who came together to set up a fundraising group and help raise the initial funds needed to build the Hospice. Today, we have over 390 people who are generously giving up their time to support our charity and the people we care for.

“I would like to thank all our volunteers for the incredible work they do. It was wonderful to be able to give something back to the people who give so much to us and with their continued support, we hope to be able to care for our local communities for another 40 years.”

Birmingham St Mary’s is on the lookout for more volunteers to join its growing team. Volunteering can boost skills needed for the workplace and is a great opportunity to make new friends. To find out more, visit here