National Work Life Week: ‘Every day I get to do something I love’ – Three Weldmar staff stories
We ask three of our colleagues what’s brought them here and kept them here.
As part of our #workatweldmar campaign, we’ve spoken to one of our longest serving, and newest members of staff.
Caroline has worked for Weldmar Hospicecare for twenty years this week. We asked her what it is about Weldmar that’s kept her here all of these years.
Denise is new to the organisation, having returned to the workplace after an absence due to ill health. And Maxine, though she’s been at Weldmar for some time, is starting in a different department. We ask what it’s like working at Weldmar and find out how they’re settling in.
Caroline started her career at Weldmar after a move from Surrey to Dorset in 2001. Caroline was first an administrator to the Community Nurses, and in 2005 moved into the People Services team to look after the volunteer function. She’s been there ever since and, in that time, has seen the volunteer base grow enormously and evolve. Caroline says ‘The volunteers never cease to amaze me. Their breadth of knowledge, their experience and their dedication. They’re such a happy group of people to be working with. I’m proud to be part of an organisation that can deliver a really good volunteering experience for them.’
Day to day, Caroline works with all of the line managers at Weldmar to support them with their volunteer needs. Caroline says ‘The last 18 months have been challenging for our volunteers. We’re making sure they don’t feel forgotten by keeping their training up to date, by communicating with them via our volunteer newsletter, and we were pleased to be able to hold our cream tea event back in the summer to say thank you.’
The other area of Caroline’s role that has evolved since the early days is the paperwork. We have policies and procedures for our volunteers. Caroline says ‘We look after them like we would look after our staff. With induction programs, training and safeguarding.’
Caroline adds ‘What’s kept me hungry for my role is supporting our volunteers through the more diverse and challenging things we ask them to do. There’s always a new project, or new people to meet. It’s so varied.’
Asked if she would still be in the job in another twenty years, Caroline says ‘I’ll say yes. I thoroughly enjoy working at Weldmar. I love everything about it.’
Maxine is one of our newer colleagues, (sort of), having recently moved recently from retail into the catering team. Maxine spends most of her week at Weldmar; either working diligently in the kitchen, or by volunteering in spiritual care.
Maxine first joined Weldmar as a retail volunteer nine years ago, then decided to work on bank support for retail, lending her hand at shops all over as required. When the deputy manager job came up at our Brownlow store, Maxine jumped at the chance to have a permanent base – that was eight years ago. Maxine says ‘I really enjoyed working in retail, however, during the lockdown, I was looking at the website and saw an advert for spiritual care volunteers. I have a church background
and I give communion to people out in the community, so I approached the service lead to ask if they needed a Christian faith volunteer, and they said yes. While I was there, I saw and advert for a kitchen assistant job – and I love working at the IPU – so I applied for it and joined the team. That was about two months ago.’
This isn’t the first time Maxine’s been in the IPU kitchen – she actually worked there twenty five years ago, so it’s quite familiar. Maxine says ‘I immediately felt at home there. I still work as bank support for retail stores too though.’
Maxine adds ‘It’s about helping people. Whether that’s at the hospice, or with customers in the shop. My spiritual care background is helpful too as I feel I can be supportive to people if they come in upset, or with a problem. I enjoying caring for people.’
When working for an end of life charity, it is, of course, hard when people pass away. Maxine says ‘I’ve dealt with bereavement myself so I have ways of coping, but I know for others it can be very challenging.’
Finally, we asked Maxine why people should work for Weldmar.
She said ‘It’s so worthwhile helping people all the time. It’s wonderful really. Every day I get to do something I love, and make an impact on people’s lives. My work inspires me, I respect the people I work with and I enjoy contributing to the team. I have the best job I could have and I recognise how lucky I am. I thoroughly enjoy working at Weldmar. ‘
After twenty-five years in childcare management, Denise decided that it was time for a change – she needed to focus on her health and wellbeing and adjust her work/life balance. Denise says ‘My previous role was exacerbating my condition. I was in a dreadful state, so I took two years out of employment. I have fibromyalgia and I wasn’t looking after myself, so I spent a lot of that time getting myself better. I wanted to go back to the workplace into a different industry and role – I hadn’t worked in retail for thirty years – but when I saw the job at Weldmar I was really keen to get it. My family have a personal connection with Weldmar, so working for a charity I have a tie to is very special. I was so pleased to be offered the job.’ Denise adds ‘I really didn’t think anyone would take me on after two years out of employment due to ill health, so for Weldmar to give me the opportunity was an incredible thing, and I’m so grateful.’
Denise started as the Deputy Manager of our Brownlow Street shop in Weymouth two months ago. ‘The best part is how varied my day is, I also love working with the volunteers – they are a fantastic group of people.’ Denise has had to step up quickly though, as there isn’t currently a shop manager in post while recruitment is underway. ‘I’m doing everything at the moment as acting manager, as well as volunteering for an extra day per week to help out too’.
A big relief to Denise has been how supportive Weldmar have been, she says ‘Weldmar have been so good in being flexible, and for making provisions and adaptations so that I can do my job with my condition. Everybody has been so helpful, welcoming and kind.’
Denise says ‘I’m working for a fantastic organisation that is so deserving of any support it can get. I’m absolutely loving working for Weldmar, there isn’t anything I don’t like.’