Mimi Harker and her pride in being a patron for The South Bucks Community Hospice

PUBLISHED: 11:53 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:53 01 May 2018

Mimi at the opening of Butterfly House (Photo: Anita Ross Marshall)

Mimi at the opening of Butterfly House (Photo: Anita Ross Marshall)


Mimi Harker OBE, the former Mayor of Amersham and immediate-past Chairman of Chiltern District Council, tells why she is so proud to be a patron of The South Bucks Community Hospice – and calls on readers to back her by volunteering to help patients with life-limiting conditions

I have been privileged to mingle with royalty, celebrities and dignitaries while representing both my town and my council as first citizen and civic head. All of these were wonderful and unforgettable experiences over a long period of time. But in terms of job satisfaction, I have actually found something that perhaps compares to these fabulous roles.

My role as an unpaid volunteer, helping charities and community organisations, is a source of huge pleasure because I know what a difference this work makes to people in need of help.

I started volunteering when I was 12-years-old and the fun, enjoyment and sense of fulfilment are such that I almost feel selfish doing it!

I am so honoured to now be a patron of The South Bucks Community Hospice, based at Butterfly House. As an ambassador for volunteering, my role is to encourage others to volunteer, and I do that with all my heart, in the sincere knowledge of how meaningful the work can be.

The charity gives help and hope to patients with life-limiting conditions. It is a non-bedded hospice and vital to this area – and yet only a very small part of its funding comes from the Government. The rest has to be raised by the charity itself, so that’s why it relies heavily on the work of its fantastic volunteers.

If you have never volunteered before or are looking for another role, and would like to see what it is all about, then this is a great place to start. Not only are you surrounded by an amazing team of staff to support you, but there are so many roles you could volunteer for – from running reception, to helping in one of the shops, tending the garden, working in the kitchen, driving patients back and forth or getting involved in one-off events. If you only have a couple of hours to spare, that’s fine. Those hours will be incredibly valuable if, for instance, they are spent greeting people as they come through the door at what can be an incredibly stressful time.

No special skills are needed – just enthusiasm, commitment and perhaps a love of chatting and spending time with others, although there are plenty of behind-the-scenes roles too. We welcome applications from a wide range of people and we would love to hear from readers who may have time on their hands and want to give something back.

Last month, I spent some time working in the hospice shops at Bourne End and Hazlemere, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There is such a wide variety of work to do there, and it’s so fulfilling to know you are making a difference to others.

My heart literally lifts when I work with an organisation such as Butterfly House, especially when I can see the impact my work is having and how many people are benefitting from my tiny contribution.

This could be you. So, if you have any time at all, just give us a go. If the first role you try isn’t what you expect it to be, you can try out so many different others.

I look forward to welcoming you on board and seeing you share the wonderful experience of volunteering.

Email volunteers@sbhospice.org.uk or call 01494 552761

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