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Dear Editor,

It’s Volunteers’ Week! The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on national healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, has been immense. Not only did it have a financial impact on the charity but it also meant that many of our incredible volunteers were unable to support us because of lockdown restrictions.

We are extremely excited that plans are underway to welcome our much missed volunteers back into our hospices, and share a warm welcome back to our retail volunteers who’ve been able to return since the roadmap allowed non-essential shops to reopen.

Sue Ryder has over 7,119 dedicated volunteers across the country and every single one is an invaluable part of the Sue Ryder organisation; they enable us to continue providing the expert and compassionate palliative, neurological and bereavement support that we are so well known for.

This Volunteers’ Week we wanted to recognise their fantastic contribution over the past fifteen months, through what has been such a difficult time for so many.

During the pandemic many of our volunteers have had to stay at home shielding at a time they’ve wanted to continue to be there; many other volunteers have worked hard developing new skills to help us continue to provide virtual support via our befriending, family support and bereavement services; and many volunteers have leapt into action taking on amazing fundraising challenges from home to help raise vital funds so our care can continue.

We want to share our thanks with all our volunteers for sticking with us and supporting us during such difficult times.

Our hospices are only part funded by the government, with just 30% of their costs covered on average. The continued support of our volunteers – whether volunteering their time and skills in our hospices, organising their own fundraising activities or working tirelessly in our Sue Ryder shops across the UK – play a critical part in helping the charity continue to be there when it matters.

Sue Ryder is committed to making volunteering with us a rewarding, inclusive and empowering experience for everybody. We’d like to appeal to any of your readers who would like to find out more about joining our team. However much time you have, we’d love you to hear from you!

To make a difference as a Sue Ryder volunteer, please visit www.sueryder.org/Volunteer for more information.

Yours sincerely,

Allison Mann,

Hospice Director,

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice

Bedford