Father of two, Tim Brett, works as an assistant business manager at St Catherine’s girl’s school in Bramley and first heard about Shooting Star Chase after his workplace held a fundraising ball for the charity. Out of curiosity Tim looked at Shooting Star Chase’s website and was drawn by the volunteering opportunities he spotted on one of the pages.
“I’ve got two healthy children and if they had a life-limiting condition I don’t know how I’d cope. As I looked at the site I thought maybe I could be help families who going through the worst time of the lives, even by doing something little.”
Tim applied for a part-time cleaning volunteer role at Christopher’s hospice in Guildford. Soon enough the volunteering team at Shooting Star Chase got in touch and suggested another voluntary role that might suit Tim better – and offered him the chance to dry-side at the hydrotherapy pool one Saturday of every month.
“As soon as I started dry-siding I knew I’d made the right choice to start volunteering. I loved helping children use the pool and see them having fun. The facility at the hospice is fantastic and enables them to enjoy an activity other able-bodied children can do so easily.
“Not long after I started dry-siding, the volunteering team contacted me with another opportunity they thought I’d be interested in. They needed help with a Saturday morning club at Christopher’s and I jumped at the chance. I’d loved the interaction with the kids at the pool and for this role I’d be assisting Helena, a care team member, every Saturday morning with a group of children up to 12 years old, including siblings.
“At Tweenies we play games, make music, have a game of football, do some craft – it’s really good fun! We talk to and interact with the children on their terms, having fun and letting them guide the session. I’ve built really great bonds with some of them. I always leave the hospice with a new lease of energy and all your troubles seem to go away after a few hours there.”
Tim has been volunteering with Shooting Star Chase for a year, and his experience has inspired him to take on more direct caring roles at the hospice.
“After building a rapport with children at the Tweenies group I decided I’d like to get involved in the caring side and I recently applied to be a part-time care support volunteer on Friday nights – a role I never thought I’d have the confidence to do. After going through an interview process I was chuffed to be offered the job and although I’ve only had a couple of shifts, I’m really enjoying it.
“I’ve helped the nurses and other carers lift and move children, kept siblings entertained and fed a young girl so the other staff could eat their dinner. I might be a volunteer at Christopher’s but I’m feel really valued – to work as a care support volunteer I completed basic training in bereavement and counselling which has really helped me understand the families I interact with.
“When you’re a volunteer you can often feel like a bit of a pain or a spare part, but not at Shooting Star Chase. You feel like an important part of what they do for children and families and they don’t let just sit and observe, you get involved and interact straight away. Everyone’s really welcoming and as soon as someone answered the door on my first day at Christopher’s I felt at home.
“If you’re considering volunteering at Shooting Star Chase my advice would be to go and try it. It’s not doom and gloom at the hospice like you think it’ll be, it’s the complete opposite. It’s a really special place and I’d recommend it to anyone.”
If you have any spare time – whether you can offer a few hours or a regular day per week, Shooting Star Chase need your help in their shops, hospices and at head office. Find your perfect volunteering role.