Put your hands up to volunteer for Chestnut Tree children’s hospice

Gill Chapple handing out medals at Chestnut Tree children's hospice  Night to Remember. SUS-170301-154807001
Gill Chapple handing out medals at Chestnut Tree children's hospice Night to Remember. SUS-170301-154807001

A children’s charity volunteer is appealing for local residents to put their hands up and join in raising funds and awareness.

Gill Chapple, a volunteer for Chestnut Tree, the children’s hospice for Sussex, is asking the people of East Sussex to spare a few hours of their time to help the charity raise vital funds and awareness.

Chestnut Tree care for over 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families, including 55 in East Sussex, but they know there are more that need their help. As part of their Hands Up! campaign Chestnut Tree are asking East Sussex residents to get involved, by fundraising, participating, donating or volunteering.

Gill, 69, has been volunteering for Chestnut Tree for six years and describes it as the “best thing ever”. She heard about the charity through a friend and got in touch to find out how she might be able to help. A chat with a member of the team resulted in her taking on the role of Collection Box Co-ordinator, a role she says she enjoys. “It fits right into my life,” she said. “If I’ve got a bit of spare time then I can organise some collections and just pick the boxes up when I’m passing.”

Along with her regular commitment Gill also helps out at events on an ad-hoc basis. “I receive a list of opportunities by email and just do whatever I fancy. I love handing out the medals at the Night to Remember midnight walk, but I also help with raffles and tombolas, man awareness stands and organise monthly table games evenings. These have proved a great success, good fun and raised almost £600 in a year. It sounds like a lot but really it isn’t, I can pick and choose what I do and there is never any pressure.

“I just feel so blessed and this is my way of giving something back. It’s just really fun. I love being with people and I meet so many through volunteering with Chestnut Tree.”

The care costs that Chestnut Tree provides is over £3.5 million each year. Less than seven percent of this is funded by central government so the charity relies heavily on fundraising to allow it to continue to offer care to local families. Volunteers play a vital role. Gill added: “I’m always encouraging friends and family to put their Hands Up! and get involved and now I want to extend that to the whole of East Sussex. You can really do as much or as little as you want and the whole ethos at Chestnut Tree is really friendly and nice.”

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to email: handsup@chestnut-tree-house.org.uk, call 01323 725095, or visit: www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/handsup