Volunteer Days: Georgia & Amy’s story

20 July 2023

Last month Team Carpenters Group volunteered at Claire House Children's Hospice!

Last month our colleagues spent a full day volunteering at Claire House, helping with their garden projects! 

A huge well done to everyone who took part and the difference you have made!

We spoke to Georgia Austin and Amy Planche about their experience:

Georgia’s experience:

“The day was lovely from start to finish; it was insightful but also educational! The groundsman Bill had a lovely chat with us to start the day, he told us all about the work they do, the work he does all by himself and told us all about the volunteers. He told us stories about celebrities who work with the charity and showed us round the grounds.

We were put to work clearing the paths so that wheelchair users could access the whole garden, he explained that they had an event on that weekend so it needed to be spotless! The grounds are pretty big so I think we did a great job considering!

After lunch we were shown around the inside of the building - it was absolutely massive! We were told how easy it was to get lost and he wasn’t wrong! They showed us all the lovely therapy rooms, counselling rooms and the children’s games room. They also took us to the areas of the building that haven’t been touched since the nuns left in the 60’s (it used to be a monastery) and in some locations they’d been untouched since even before then! It was like stepping into a time capsule. We saw the most gorgeous stained glass windows in the chapel, the nuns bedrooms, some of their art work, belongings and more, it was incredible. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we learnt so much on the tour it was so interesting.

We even got to vist the ‘eBay room’, this is ran by a volunteer who sadly lost his son a few years ago who attended Claire House. He explained that he runs the ebay account for the charity and sells the donations and the money goes straight back into the charity! He told us how some of the big brands like Littlewoods will donate their unused clothing to them to sell. It was a lovely experience to chat with him and see his involvement with the charity.

I really wanted to get involved as I’ve done a fair bit of charity work in the past and you can’t beat the feeling of knowing you’ve helped or you’ve made someone smile or made a new friend. It’s also good to give back to those who need it in any way you can.

I highly recommended anyone considering volunteering with the company that you do so! It’s lovely to meet new people in the company that you may not usually get to meet/spend time with. It’s great fun and it’s for a great cause – you can’t go wrong!”


Amy’s experience:

“Volunteering at Claire House was an amazing experience!

I love the idea of being part of a company that cares, and that wants to give back (especially to its own community). A Bake Sale or Mufti Day to raise money for charity is one thing, but this gave us the chance to really get involved and see the difference the existence of this charity can make to people’s lives. The Paid Volunteer Days offered at Carpenters Group are something I’ve never heard of before, and I think it’s a great idea! I wanted to be involved because Claire House is an amazing local charity, and I felt I would be capable to do what they were asking, and liked the idea of being of use to such a worthy cause. I was also interested in learning more about the charity.

Claire House is an amazing charity founded by a family from the Wirral, who wanted to ensure that no other parent had to go through the loss of a child alone. They provide a safe space, Counselling, guidance and support to families all over the Northwest; predominantly at their Wirral campus, but given the size and scope offered by the Liverpool site, their aim and hope is to expand their services to this side of the water too! The site is a former silent Monastery dating back to 1907, which was entirely walled up to protect the Nuns, and includes expansive gardens as when in the use of the Church it was entirely self-sufficient, and fruit and vegetables etc were grown in the gardens. We were shown around the buildings, told about its history, and the hopes the Charity have for using the space in the future.

In terms of how we could actually be of assistance, it was basic weeding and clearing of the gardens; in particular ensuring the pathways were as clear and smooth as possible to allow the children to race around on their wheelchairs! So armed with gloves, brooms, rakes and spades, we cleared weeds, leaves and pinecones from the pathway and surrounding grass. This included numerous trips with a wheelbarrow to the compost heap at the back of the building. Karen and I assisted in clearing a public footpath alongside the monastery.

My advice to anyone wanting to volunteer would be to do it; and if possible do it as part of a Carpenters Group Team! We were 6 people from different Teams, most of whom had not spoken before, but we all came together to help and enjoy this amazing experience."