Three volunteers helping us to keep families together in Sheffield

To celebrate volunteers' week, we are speaking to a few volunteers across the country who give up their time to help us like Jill, Lynn and Katie who hold a book sale for our Sheffield 'Homes from Home' every month

“We met a little boy who was a toddler pushed in his stroller to our book stall by his dad (a keen reader). The boy had had a tracheotomy, his head was shaved and he was very pale and weak. Over the next three years we watched the change until one day his dad brought him to say goodbye. He was walking, chattering, and had lovely wavy hair. His dad told us that our book stall was a real highlight for them and a break from the tests and treatment. Without The Sick Children’s Trust he and his wife wouldn’t have seen each other for months.” Jill Ashton, Volunteer for The Sick Children’s Trust and Founder of Books 4 Good Causes

Up and down the country, we’re grateful to have loyal volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules to support families with seriously ill children in hospital.

In Sheffield, every month a table is put up in the entrance to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and volunteers Jill Ashton, Katie Brown and Lynn Hutchinson carefully lay out chosen high-quality books for patients and their parents to buy. Books 4 Good Causes raises money for our Sheffield ‘Homes from Home’ Treetop and Magnolia Houses which give up to 24 families a night a warm and comfortable place to stay while their child is in Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

We may currently be in lockdown, but as Volunteers’ Week approaches we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to speak to Jill, Katie and Lynn and find out more about their volunteering.

Why did you decide to volunteer for The Sick Children’s Trust?

Lynn: I first found out about The Sick Children’s Trust when I attended a meeting of Crafty Business Sheffield with my daughter Katie. During the evening, Jill and Katie mentioned that they were looking for volunteers and asked if I would like to help at the next book sale. At the next book sale I met Ann, who manages both the Sheffield ‘Homes from Home’ and helped set up the tables ready for customers.  It was a really good day with lots of customers either buying books or just giving donations.  Many were staying with their child and told us how much they appreciated the accommodation and I think they were happy to have someone other than doctors and nurses to talk to for a change.  By the end of the day I had decided that this was something I wanted to do again.

“I can remember when I first started volunteering there was a little boy who was very ill, we saw him regularly and one day he came to see us and was wearing a school uniform and was so happy to be starting school. It was wonderful.” Katie Brown, Volunteer for The Sick Children’s Trust

What are the benefits of volunteering for The Sick Children’s Trust for you?

Jill: I get to spend time with books (my passion) and book loving people. I meet lots of families at the hospital and try and improve one of the worst times in their life. I like to think I make a difference by raising finances for Treetop & Magnolia Houses.

Lynn: Being retired I had taken up some craft hobbies and was reading, which I have always enjoyed, so being involved with The Sick Children’s Trust in this way just seemed a natural move which enabled me to help a good cause and get out and meet people at the same time.

Katie: The benefits of volunteering for The Sick Children’s Trust are helping raise money to support families in their time of need, enjoying conversations with people who come and visit the stall and I love seeing the children reading the books and smiling when they find their favourite one.

“Seeing the children’s faces when we can find a particular book or sell things like knitted Easter chicks with sweets inside or Christmas elves, snowmen, cards. Or giving a book to a member of staff who may have been looking for it for a long time. Also, seeing some of our regular customers going home after weeks or even months of treatment is both happy and sad at the same time.” Lynn Hutchinson, Volunteer for The Sick Children’s Trust

Why should someone take up volunteering for The Sick Children’s Trust?

Jill: If you love being around people and value the importance of the family unit then you will respect the work of The Sick Children’s Trust. As a charity it has high standards of behaviour and is never pushy or pressure selling.

Lynn: I would say to anyone who has some time to spare that this is an excellent way to help others, keep active, and meet new people both at the sales and by collecting donations of books from friends, relatives and even neighbours.

Katie: I would encourage people to volunteer for The Sick Children’s Trust because they do a wonderful job of helping to keep families together in their time of need with lots of care and support.

Books 4 Good Causes collect and re-home unwanted books to fundraise for good causes. Once a month, money raised from the book sale at Sheffield Children’s Hospital go towards our Treetop and Magnolia Houses which support families with children at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Jill, Katie and Lynn for volunteering for us and raising money to support these families.

To find out more, follow the team on Twitter: @books_4_causes


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We couldn't continue to support more families without our amazing volunteers



It costs The Sick Children’s Trust £40 to support a family for one night. £40 gives a family so much more than just a roof over their heads when their child is in hospital. £40 gives them someone to talk to, and a calm place to rest with their family.

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