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Volunteers are the "heart and soul" of St Cuthbert's Hospice. They help make the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere so often commented on by our guests and visitors. Our volunteers provide a vital service; without their support, we would not be where we are today. To show how much they mean to us, we would like take the opportunity to introduce you to a selection of our volunteers.

Tom Morton

Living Well Centre Volunteer

“I’m a student at Durham University studying Sport and Exercise Sciences and I found out about the Hospice after visiting a Volunteer Fair at the University where I got chatting with the Hospice Volunteer Services Team. I started volunteering in autumn last year after coming back from studying in New Zealand. I want to become a Physiotherapist, so having the opportunity to join Jenny, the Physiotherapist here, and see what she does, couldn’t be much better. I’m gaining so much experience which will help my applications to study in the future."

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Elizabeth Wilson

Charity Shop Retail Assistant

When I retired, I felt like I was surplus to requirements. When I started volunteering at the shop, I was given responsibility and made to feel that my contributions are valued. I feel valued. It makes me extremely happy and is excellent for my mental health. I’ve never worked in retail, but I love it. I’ve built a rapport with the customers and have people who come from miles away. I have got to know the regulars enough to be able to point out items I think they’d like and have a chat with them. If you're thinking about volunteering to just go for it, 100%!

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Gerry Kelly

Receptionist/ Gardener/ Fundraiser

I worked in public service for 40 years, I felt I had something to offer. My late wife was a Hospice Volunteer for 17 years and we enjoyed sharing our experiences. Being a part of a team and meeting new people is the most enjoyable part of volunteering. The best everyday experiences working in the Hospice is being able to help our visitors and seeing the seasonal changes in the garden.

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Joyce Welsh

Finance and Development Volunteer

My daughter Kay is the reason I volunteered at St Cuthbert's Hospice, she works at the hospice and one of my colleagues passed away here. The most enjoyable part of volunteering is spending time in the office with the girls and doing something worthwhile. Seeing my daughter everyday is a bonus and seeing her happy.

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Eileen Hall

Charity Shop Retail Assistant

At the time I started volunteering for the Hospice, I didn’t have a personal connection but I have now. You never know if you might need help yourself one day. I worked with the public all of my working career so already had that experience. I feel I’ve swapped books for clothes, as I used to work in a library. I like to feel like I’m helping people and enjoy talking to customers. I’ve gained friends by volunteering and am happy to give something back to the community.

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Ray Mendez

Guest Services, Development & Retail

The atmosphere and environment at the Hospice is so welcoming, warm and friendly. It’s evolved over the years I’ve been here, people have moved on, but the atmosphere has never changed. I like being there. I’ve made so many friends, so the social side is important. I volunteer because I want to and know I’m making a difference. I’m a cog in the team and as a team I know we make a difference. There’s no ‘i’ in team. It’s a good feeling of putting something back into the community.

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Susan Renaut-Evans

Charity Shop Retail Assistant

When I first retired, I saw a poster in a shop window saying that St Cuthbert’s were opening a shop. I thought I’ve got a bit of spare time, I’d like to put it to good use. I get on well with everyone and meet different people volunteering on different shifts. I have made friendships with regular customers. I’ve learned how to use a till, card machine and how to create window displays. It’s nice to hear that our customers think the shop is clean and tidy and that the windows look lovely.

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Jennifer Atkinson

Charity Shop Retail Assistant

I found out about volunteering at the shop through coming in as a customer. I hadn’t worked in retail before but I love it. I look forward to coming in, meeting and talking to people. I like interacting. It’s very fulfilling, an enjoyable experience and good to feel needed. I’ve gained confidence and retail skills. If you’re thinking about volunteering you won’t regret it. You’ll have a really good time.

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Adam Bell


I like helping others and making a difference in the local community. I am passionate about gardening and working in green spaces. St Cuthbert’s were first to respond to my approach and they are such a vital charity.

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Karl Venus

Retail Driver

I’d been lucky enough to retire from work and had a little spare time each week so I applied for a volunteer driver role. I’ve now been part of the team since 2018 and I enjoy every minute of it! I’d recommend it to anyone. If you’re at a loose end and have the time to spare, why not give your time to a worthy cause?

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Rita & Maureen

Coffee Shop & Charity Shop Retail Assistants

Maureen and Rita didn’t meet until they both started volunteering for St Cuthbert’s Hospice 15 years ago!

Maureen had been visiting a friend who was receiving Hospice care. “I had retired from my career as a neonatal nurse and wanted to do something useful with my spare time. During my visits I’d noticed that the Hospice was setting up a new coffee shop and thought that would be a perfect opportunity to get involved with volunteering.”

Around the same time, Rita had picked up a leaflet advertising the Midnight Walk for the Hospice and decided to take part. “I loved the idea of taking part in fundraising for the Hospice. Although I had no personal connection, I was aware of the great work the Hospice does for members of our community. After this event, I decided that I wanted to do more for St Cuthbert’s so applied to become a volunteer.”

“I spent my first week at the coffee shop where I met Maureen and the rest is history.”

“We’ve been here ever since and always help out with Hospice events together. It’s great to have a catch up with a good friend and help the Hospice at the same time. We get to meet new people and spend time chatting to our Living Well Centre guests while they enjoy tea and a scone in the coffee shop.”

“If you have any spare time we’d definitely recommend joining our team. I also volunteer at the Houghton-le-Spring shop a few hours a week so feel free to pop in and have a chat about charity shop volunteering.”

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