A mum and daughter duo from Eastleigh in Hampshire have been drumming up support in their local area as part of a national drive for more volunteers in England.
Cath Hopkins and stepdaughter Sammy Smith have been calling on more people to come forward and help the Rainbow Trust, a children’s charity which supports families with a seriously ill child. The call-to-action marks Volunteers Week 2022 from 1 – 7 June, which celebrates the contribution of millions in the UK who volunteer every year.
According to the Rainbow Trust, they have seen a step fall in its volunteer numbers since the start of the pandemic with a 28% decline in its number of volunteers.
Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness, something close to Cath’s heart. The Eastleigh mum lost her brother to a life-threatening condition when he was just seven years old, and says the charity was ‘a huge help’ to her family at the time.
Neither Cath nor Sammy had any previous experience of fundraising or volunteering prior to becoming Regional Ambassadors for Rainbow Trust and they are encouraging others to join them and sign up to volunteer.
Cath says: “We really enjoy going to events and representing Rainbow Trust. We are both very sociable and enjoy meeting people, so being an Ambassador is the perfect role for us and it is also a way for me to say ‘thank you’ for the support they provided to our family in the past.”
Sammy added: “I love all the different aspects of my Ambassador role but a stand out memory for both of us would be an event at Paulton’s Park a couple of years ago which we found so rewarding. We were able to meet all the families that Rainbow Trust support in the Southern area and welcome them as they arrived.
“It was such a good day connecting with the families and the wider team and it demonstrated the true purpose of why we do this.”
According to the children’s charity, there are an estimated 86,000 children in England with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, with their Family Support Workers providing a ‘lifeline’ to those families and children.
Maddie Thomas, Rainbow Trust’s Volunteer Manager says: “We would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved and join Cath and Sammy and our team of incredible volunteers.”
To find out more and to look for volunteering opportunities in your area, visit: www.rainbowtrust.org.uk/volunteer