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Answering 80 Calls in an Afternoon

17 January 2017

Our reception volunteers are the public face of the Hospice and the first point of contact for visitors and telephone callers. They provide a warm and friendly welcome to all visitors, leaving them with a positive lasting impression. Elaine is a retired school admin manager who volunteers one afternoon a week on reception. When she isn’t volunteering, Elaine likes to swim, read, knit, shop and go on holiday.

“I took early retirement from a particularly busy job and I wanted to do something to keep my brain active and give back to the community. I have a friend who has volunteered on reception at the Hospice for many years so I decided to apply for my first volunteer role back in November 2013.

My volunteering role on reception is really varied. Alongside another member of staff on reception, together we receive phone calls and put them through to the correct departments, taking calls on a wide range of topics. Between the two of us on reception we can receive up to 80 phone calls in an afternoon session. We greet visitors and new patients, showing them to their appropriate meeting place. We also take donations, issuing receipts for the individual, and we also ensure any post is passed on to the correct department.

I have learnt a lot about the Hospice outreach services since volunteering and it surprises me that the Hospice needs to raise £8million a year to function. I wish I had started doing this years ago, as it is rewarding to resolve a problem for a visitor and it is nice to see when patients are discharged and can go home, feeling better than when they arrived.

I would recommend volunteering as it doesn’t matter what you do, or how little or much time you give, it’s the fact that you are supporting the Hospice that counts!”

Without our amazing Reception volunteers like Elaine we would not be able to continue to provide free care and support to those living with a terminal illness across Birmingham and Sandwell. If you are interested in joining our friendly and welcoming Reception Team, visit to find out more. Make volunteering at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice your New Year’s Resolution!