“I absolutely love St Giles. If anyone is thinking about volunteering, I’d tell them to just do it.”
Julie Deaves, aged 46, has been volunteering at St Giles for just over two years.
Initially she helped out at events – handing out leaflets, shaking buckets and marshalling people – but Julie found volunteering to be so much fun that she now also works one day a week in the fundraising office, and has even affectionately been named “Del Boy”.
“They call me Del Boy because I’m always saying ‘I know someone who could help with that!’” said Julie. “I haven’t always been that forward – in fact I was really nervous the first time I volunteered at an event, but I thought: ‘It’s OK, it’s just for one night’.”
But that one night totally changed how Julie thought about volunteering. She added: “A friend of mine worked at the hospice in the fundraising team and asked if I’d like to help out at the Light up a Life event. I remember being very nervous, but everyone was so friendly – the other volunteers, the St Giles team, and all the people who attended the event.
“I came away with an all-round beautiful feeling because I felt that we were doing something that was so lovely for people and I haven’t looked back.”
Julie fits in volunteering with a number of other roles, including being mum to 10-year-old son Riley. She also sells clothing and cosmetics and runs a business from home with her husband.
Julie says it’s the feeling she gets from making a positive difference that keeps her so motivated.
“Last year I offered to visit local garden centres to see if I could get them more involved with supporting and promoting the St Giles Christmas Treecycle appeal. I was amazed at the response I got, and the amount we raised was fantastic. Seeing the difference that that made has given me such a huge sense of pride and achievement.”
There are so many other stories that Julie could tell about the events she’s supported and the people she’s met, she said. “I absolutely love St Giles. The team are all great fun and it’s all to support such an amazing place. If anyone is thinking about volunteering at St Giles, I’d tell them to just do it – there are so many roles to choose from!”
If you’ve been inspired by Julie’s story and would like to know more about volunteering at St Giles, you can book onto a volunteer open session here. Plus, you can reach the team on 01543 434546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.