Date published: 24 May 2022 by Digital Team
An Epsom volunteer for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, is calling on more volunteers to come forward and help support families with a seriously ill child, to mark Volunteers Week which runs from 1-7 June.
Retiree John West, from Epsom has been a volunteer driver for Rainbow Trust since summer 2018. After 30 years with the Metropolitan Police, followed by a stint at the RAC at Epsom as a golf course marshal, he found he had spare time on his hands once he fully retired.
John is now calling on others to consider joining him and volunteer to help families with a life-threatened or terminally ill child. The charity has seen a steep fall in volunteer numbers since the pandemic began with a 28% decline in its volunteer numbers.
“I feel so fortunate to have seen a piece in the retired police officer’s magazine at the end of 2017 asking for volunteers at Rainbow Trust. I applied, and after completing the initial paperwork, started supporting them in June 2018.
“My role is to collect families and take them either to or from their appointments at hospitals and hospices. It sounds so simple, but I have found that you can't underestimate the importance of removing traffic and parking worries from a family already under enormous stress. Sometimes I park and wait for them so I can drive them home, other times their Family Support Worker may do one leg of the trip.”
Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. When a child has a serious illness, family life is turned upside down and time becomes more precious than ever. Rainbow Trust pairs each family with an expert Family Support Worker who enables them to make the most of time together, giving them practical and emotional support, whenever they need it, for as long as is needed. The COVID-19 pandemic piled further unimaginable pressure onto these parents and children, and the charity’s Family Support Workers continue to provide a lifeline to them.
“I would encourage anyone with some spare time to consider volunteering for Rainbow Trust. I find that by helping parents who have a seriously ill child, even if it’s taking care of mundane matters such as hospital parking, is extremely worthwhile and very much appreciated by the families. Sometimes the simple act of giving some of your spare time can be extremely valuable to those in need, in fact the support provided by the charity to families is immeasurable.”
Rainbow Trust has ten different volunteer positions available, ranging from office volunteers and drivers to family support volunteers and regional ambassadors. Rainbow Trust relies on the dedication of its team of 250 volunteers. Whether you can give a few hours, a day or two or want to become a lifelong volunteer, your time really does count.
Maddie Thomas, Rainbow Trust’s volunteer Manager says:
“Volunteers Week is an opportunity for Rainbow Trust to really celebrate our incredible volunteers and say a massive thank you to them for their continued help and dedication. Our volunteer drivers, like John, have helped us continue to reach families who have had to deal with the immense pressure and stress of the pandemic on top of coping with their child’s illness. We would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved and join John and our team of incredible volunteers.