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At Ramsdens we support staff that hold trustee positions and this week we’re featuring some of our team members as part of Trustee Week (4 -8 November 2019), who hold positions at local charities.

Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference and we are celebrating our trustees.

Senior Associate Jodie Wielgus is a regular volunteer at the local Overgate Hospice charity based in Calderdale.

Overgate Hospice has been at the heart of the Calderdale community for over 35 years and aims to help people with life-limiting illnesses. The charity's focus is on trying to improve the quality of life for their patients and help them to live life to the full, to the very end. They do this by offering specialist palliative care, comfort and support, free of charge, to patients and their families. They are an independent charity and rely heavily on funding from the local community to ensure their care is available for future generations. Every day, Overgate manages to raise £6,800 thanks to the help of individuals, companies and organisations across the Calderdale area.

Jodie is also a Trustee of the charity and we spoke to her about why she got involved in the first place and why she believes that volunteering is so important...

Why did you choose to get involved with the Overgate Hospice charity?

The quick answer is that it was just by chance! However, by way of background, I had previously been a Trustee at the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust before retiring from that role when I became pregnant as I didn't have enough hours in my day. Then, when my son started school and I was back into a good routine in my life I felt I had time to offer my skills to a charity again and by chance, I saw an advert for the Hospice stating that they were recruiting for a Trustee to join their Board. Given my role as a Private Client solicitor and having been to the Hospice for work reasons on a number of occasions, I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to become involved in a cause that I knew of and tied in very well to my day-to-day work.

What kinds of events do the hospice host to raise money/awareness?

So many I couldn't list them all! There are so many ways the Hospice raises money and awareness, from your usual raffle tickets, fun runs, corporate balls and quizzes to more extreme events such as a sponsored walk of the Wall of China! We run educational events for medical professionals, for carers and for the local community to try and raise awareness about the Hospice and why it is so vital in the Calderdale community. The Hospice also actively encourages people to come up with their own fundraising ideas that they will support so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know! Most importantly, awareness is spread by our 650 volunteers and the families of those who have had the need to use the facilities and services the Hospice offers.

What have you found most beneficial about regularly volunteering?

For me, I know that my volunteering, along with the hundreds of other volunteers at Overgate, makes a real difference to the Hospice. The Hospice has more volunteers than it does paid staff and their role is integral to the Hospice continuing to provide end of life care in Calderdale. My role as a Trustee is providing support to the CEO and the Senior Management Team and using my skills and expertise to play a vital role in the Hospice's strategic development. In the three years I have been a Trustee we have made some huge decisions which in due course will make a massive difference to Hospice care in Calderdale. Whilst I can't discuss it yet, there are very exciting times ahead for Overgate and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of that team of Trustees and part of the driving force behind it. I also have learnt a lot about myself and my own skills during the last three years as a Trustee. I am part of a team of people who bring different attributes to the table so I have had to find my feet and work out where my strengths are. I have learnt a lot about charity structures and governance, about running a business, about management of finances and about human resources to name just a few things - these to me are all interchangeable skills that I can take away and use in my role as a solicitor as well as a Trustee.

Would you encourage others to join the volunteering team at Overgate Hospice?

Yes! Absolutely! The value of a volunteer is immeasurable. Our statistics show that Overgate's volunteers give over 750 hours of service each week in one way or another. We are always looking for new people to get involved whether that be by raising funds, assisting in a shop, providing administrative help, driving a mini bus, helping with the Ebay shop or helping staff run an event - there are so many opportunities within the Hospice to get involved and make a difference.