“To me, fundraising means so much more than just collecting money. It’s about being able to make a difference to people when they need that extra support most.” For Hospice Care Week, our community fundraising intern, Amira, shares what she ‘hearts’ most about Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice…
I remember how surprised everyone was when I applied to do a fundraising internship – it’s completely unrelated to the textiles degree I’m doing at Birmingham City University! But for me, that’s the point. It gave me the chance to make the most of the summer holidays by doing something different, something which involved giving back to the community. That’s why I was so excited to take on this role at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.
I decided to give back to the Hospice because the nurses and doctors there had given so much to my family. My uncle was cared for at the Hospice and although it was a really upsetting time, I still can’t believe how comfortable and peaceful the staff made him and our family feel. It definitely changed my perspective of hospices and I know first-hand the difference they can make to people’s lives. So volunteering my time and doing an internship was my way of giving back.
Before I started my new role, I was a bit nervous because, being a student and quite young, I wasn’t quite sure if I would fit in. Thankfully, the fundraising team were amazing – they immediately made me feel so welcome and I instantly felt like a valued member of their team.
Working in fundraising was completely different to what I was expecting – there’s so much that happens behind the scenes! My main was responsibility was to help oversee the Hospice’s ‘Big Brum Bucket’ campaign, in which hundreds of volunteers take over supermarkets, shopping centres and high streets across the city to raise bucket-loads of money for the charity.
It’s fair to say that no two days are ever the same when you work in fundraising. Some days I’d be creating engaging social media posts whilst on other days, I’d be taking fun pictures of my colleagues in fancy dress whilst posing with our collection buckets. It was all to help promote Big Brum Bucket of course, and to encourage people to sign up and get involved.
One of my highlights was joining our incredible volunteers at my local high street and taking part in Big Brum Bucket collection itself. I was surprised at how kind some people were. I had one woman come up to me who had no idea what a hospice did. After I told her, she ended up popping five pounds into my bucket – I couldn’t believe it! It’s lovely, big-hearted people like her who make all the hard work worth it. So far, Big Brum Bucket has raised over £8,000 and I feel proud that I’ve helped to make that happen.
My favourite part of the role though has to be the people. Everyone I work with is just so helpful and thoughtful. People are at the heart of the Hospice, which makes it such a caring place to work. Although I’m heading back to university now, I’ve already told the fundraising team that they won’t be able to get rid of me that easily – I’ll definitely be back here volunteering at Christmas for sure!
Thank you Amira for sharing your story with us! Hospice Care Week is a national week of celebration and action, which aims to get people talking about and change perceptions on hospice care.
If you’ve been inspired by Amira’s story, why not see what current volunteering and job vacancies are available? Or, if you would like to do some fundraising in your community, we’ve got lots of fun ideas to get you started.