I'm Julia and I’ve been volunteering at St Raphael’s for nearly a year. I began by training on reception, and then, once my checks came through, I switched to the St Raphael's Wellbeing Centre to help at one of the weekly art club sessions.

My role there involves helping our art teacher, Gottfried, to organise the materials before the start of that week’s session. The patients might be doing something like dyeing silk scarves or making cards to give as gifts, so paints, pens, dyes, fabrics or card might need to be prepared. Then I welcome patients as they arrive and I’m there to help and support them during the club. The atmosphere is welcoming, supportive and friendly and I enjoy meeting the patients who come to the sessions. Patients are served lunch from the Hospice café before they leave. I help to pack away afterwards before the afternoon music session.

I decided to volunteer at St Raphael’s once I’d retired from my full-time lecturer’s post because it seemed such a very worthwhile cause to give my time to. When I first enquired about volunteering, I was given a tour and was struck by the positive energy of the Hospice, and the kindness and friendliness of the other volunteers that I met on that first visit.

Life is busy, but I feel grateful to have the opportunity to give something back by volunteering at St Raphael’s and to make a positive contribution to patients’ lives.