Volunteers’ Week – Stonepillow Stories

Veteran fundraiser Katharine Minchin, who is 73 and known to us as Mrs. M has been a volunteer here at Stonepillow for over 20 years. Recently Mrs. M took part in a charity Skydive for Stonepillow and raised over £5,000. She did the Skydive for our ‘Restoring Hope, Rebuilding Lives’ campaign because “no one should be without a roof over their heads. Please help me to raise funds by supporting my insanity, your donation can change someone’s life. It could be the spark of hope which makes them feel like life is worth living.” said Mrs. M before the Skydive.

The money she has raised will go towards opening our brand new 24-hour hostel, and is a significant contribution towards our £98,000 target.

As well as fundraising, Mrs. M has cooked regularly for her ‘Sunday’ family in the Chichester night hostel. “I also collect clothes, food, cleaning materials, washing powder, even bicycles for Stonepillow, as well as judging cake competitions and helping at fundraising events – in fact anything that will help the cause.” Mrs. M goes above and beyond with her support and we appreciate everything that she does, even coming in the office regularly to bring us cake.

Mrs. M deserves an OBE, and we are so lucky to have such an amazing volunteer on our team. Not only does she support our clients, but she supports staff also with her wisdom, advice and her cheery personality – thank you so much Mrs. M

We very lucky to have a volunteer who gives so much of her time and skills to Stonepillow in Head Office, organising and helping out with all of our events throughout the year. Her name is Sandra Mckenzie and this is her story;

“After taking early retirement, I was suddenly faced with empty days, after going through three bereavements, it was time to either go back to work or do something I really wanted to do. I have been volunteering for Stonepillow for around six months and it has given me a new lease of life and the opportunity to do something to help others who are less fortunate. I work in events and PR, which is what my background was. Initially I did a couple of mornings a week, I am now almost full time assisting the events and PR manager with numerous fundraising events. Not only is it fulfilling but very worthwhile and I get huge satisfaction every day when we reach a target or arrange another event. It is also a fun environment to work in with great personalities who all have the same goal!”

Sandra lights up the staff room when she arrives and always has good news to tell us about the amazing work she has done. Sandra is one of our key fundraisers, organising bucket collections and events, and is a brilliant sales woman on the phone, securing much-needed donations, raffle prizes and exploring other fundraising opportunities. We really would be lost without Sandra!

These are just two of the volunteers we have at Stonepillow, and we love and appreciate ALL of our volunteers! There are just so many that give up their time and skills to help us here at Stonepillow to do what we do. And we truly couldn’t do the amazing work here without our much loved volunteers!

Some words from our Clients on our Volunteers:
“I am grateful for our volunteer hairdresser, who willingly gives her time once a month to cut our hair, it is nice to feel better about the way I look, thank you for doing this for us.”

“Thank you to our volunteer hairdresser, for cutting our hair, at times when we have no money it is nice to still be able to feel good.”

[To one of our volunteer cooks] “Your cooking is fantastic, it reminds me of home, thank you for all the effort you put in, to making sure we have yummy food.”

[To one of our volunteer cooks] “Thank you so much for your lovely food, it is so nice and we are grateful for it.”

Volunteers in our Charity Shops

Some success stories from some of our Volunteers in our charity shops in Chichester and Bognor. We could not run these shops without the work of our volunteers. We currently have around 20 active volunteers across both of our shops.

Dave has been volunteering mostly at our Bognor Restore charity shop and goes out on the vans to do deliveries. He is our ex client who came to contact with Stonepillow via Bognor Hostel/Hub, then he moved to Supported Accommodation in Littlehampton, and now he is in his private rented accommodation in Felpham and is still volunteering with us on a regular basis!

Our wonderful team at our charity shops is made up of previous volunteers. Marion – Sales Desk and Reception Assistant, Steve – Van Driver, Courtney – Sales Desk and Reception Assistant and Andy– Retail Sales Assistant. All of them have been our volunteers and progressed to employment with us recently.

Our volunteer Lem, who is our volunteer since November 2016 and works at least 3 times a week in our Bike Shed. He also plays guitar and sings, and is an important part of our team, helping us to restore bikes that are donated.