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Some volunteers are returning to East Cheshire Hospice after they were stood down because of Covid-19.
The first receptionist was back on the front desk last Thursday – coincidentally during Volunteers Week.
Several days earlier the gardening team returned to their duties and other volunteer roles will be re-introduced according to strict safety guidelines.
That means charity shop helpers will not return until next month and it could be some time before volunteers will be back on the ward and in other patient-facing roles.
Voluntary Services Co-ordinator Helena Smith said: “The message to our 650 volunteers is that we’re missing you.
“Our volunteers bring something special to the Hospice and we’re looking forward to seeing them again.
“While we’re genuinely excited about having them back, it’s going to take us a while to see all the teams return.
“The most important consideration is that we ensure people are safe, and feel safe. Everyone has pitched in to make the place work, with staff switching into different roles.
“But the last two or three months has shown us what we knew all along – that we couldn’t exist without our incredible volunteers.”
With some Hospice staff also self-isolating, colleagues have been switching jobs to help on reception, in the kitchen, laundry room and with cleaning duties.
One of first volunteers back was Stan Wiseman, from Prestbury, whose work in the garden is in memory of his late wife Sara, who died in the Hospice in 2016.
Like her husband, Sara was also a Hospice volunteer for many years and was an ambassador.
Volunteer Stan Wiseman with his rescue dog Lola at East Cheshire Hospice.
Stan said: “I know the Hospice is looking for more gardeners and I’d recommend it. I help out every Wednesday and really enjoy it. As you can imagine, the garden had got out of hand after not being touched for 10 weeks.”
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