To celebrate the start of Volunteers' Week, we asked members of our Leadership team to tell us why volunteering is so important at Prostate Cancer UK and to share how they’re planning to spend their time volunteering this year. 

1 Jun 2018

Angela Culhane being interviewed on Jeff Stelling's March for Men

Angela Culhane, Chief Executive

What volunteering means to me

I have a confession – I’m a bit of a volunteering addict. I have regularly volunteered since I was a teenager (it started with ‘bob-a-job’ for charity, for anyone old enough to remember?!). If I ever need my confidence in human nature restored, volunteering does the trick for me. Being part of a team doing something for a good cause is just a good feeling.  I think I might be addicted to the buzz!

I’ve done quite a bit of volunteering at Prostate Cancer UK, including organising quizzes and other fundraisers, taking part in our March for Men walking events, bucket collections at my local football club, Colchester United and helping at other events organised by local supporters.

We are so lucky to have thousands of volunteers helping us each year – each giving their time, passion and expertise to help us. Thank you to each and every one of you!

- Angela Culhane

 

Sounds like hard work on top of a very busy day job? I have no complaints – it’s fun! Volunteering gives me the perfect opportunity to give something back in a really personal way. Seeing the infectious enthusiasm of our supporters up close is great reward and it’s so important to understand what they put themselves through for our cause. Even more importantly, I get the chance to meet more people whose lives have been touched by the disease, reminding me why we’re here and renewing my energy for the fight against prostate cancer.

We are so lucky to have thousands of volunteers helping us each year – each giving their time, passion and expertise to help us. Thank you to each and every one of you!

My volunteering pledge

I’m looking forward to the year ahead and more opportunities to get involved, with quite a few things firmed up already. I’ll be putting my best foot forward in the London March for Men, along with some friends and family I have managed to round up and of course the many hundreds of others who have signed up. Then in July, a couple of my friends are organising a Man to Man cycle ride (from Manningtree to Manchester) over a few days and I have volunteered to drive the support vehicle (a better deal than cycling such a distance in my book!). I’m also doing the Football March for Men and helping at a local pub quiz.    

 

 Heather Blake

Heather Blake, Director of Support and Influencing

What volunteering means to me

Our volunteers are critical to the success of our support and influencing work as we work to ensure men get the best care. So often this involves men who’ve had a personal experience of prostate cancer telling their story – recalling the most difficult moments of their lives – over and over again. They talk to other men who’ve been diagnosed through our one-to-one support service, share their story to people they’ve never met to help improve their awareness of the disease, and speak to key influencers and clinicians as we campaign for better treatment and care.

Our volunteers help keep everything we do real and relevant. They make sure we’ve got men at the heart of all of our health information by meticulously reviewing it and checking it makes sense to others. They allow us to get to places and people that we could otherwise never reach, and their commitment, courage and generosity never fail to astound me.

My volunteering pledge

I really enjoyed the March for Men last year and talking to some of my enthusiastic fellow marchers.  I will be marching in Glasgow again this year, with my husband and his family, and will be supporting other fundraising events during the year. 

I also want to use my experience at Prostate Cancer UK to support other great causes and will be aiming to become a trustee of another charity sometime this year.  I’m particularly keen to help charities that improve the lives and experiences of vulnerable older people or those struggling with loneliness or disability - I know from my experience working in community health services how important it is to value and care about people as a whole, not just focus on their physical health and safety.

 

Sue Virgoe

Sue Virgoe, Associate Director of People and Facilities

What volunteering means to me

Volunteers at Prostate Cancer UK do so much to support our work – including supporting fundraising events, hosting information stands and awareness talks, providing peer support to men with prostate cancer and helping in our offices.  I am hugely proud to work alongside our inspirational volunteers and lead our Volunteer Engagement team, who are responsible for recruiting and supporting our volunteers.

Our volunteers, many of whom have had a very close personal connection to prostate cancer themselves, bring fresh eyes to many aspects of our work, can act as critical friends and help us keep a focus on why what we do really does make a difference.  To put it simply, they are essential members of our team and have a key role to play in helping us to achieve our ambition of taming prostate cancer in 10 years. 

My volunteering pledge

I love working alongside volunteers and I’m keen to get out and about and meet more of them – so I’ll be volunteering at three of our fundraising events this year.

Our volunteers also do a great job of raising awareness about the risks of developing prostate cancer and empowering men to take action on their health.  I want to see this in action so I’ll be buddying up with a volunteer and supporting an information stand or awareness talk.

  

Tracey Pritchard

Tracey Pritchard, Director of Engagement

What volunteering means to me

Charities wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for people giving up their time to support them.  At Prostate Cancer UK, we know that we could not succeed in stopping men dying from prostate cancer if people were not willing to commit their time to raising awareness and money, campaigning for change and, oh yes, helping to govern the charity! I’m grateful to every one of our vast array of volunteers for what they help us to achieve.

Our volunteers help us to engage with new supporters at every event we have. Often, they’re the public face of our organisation, on the front line and instrumental in making that first interaction members of the public have with us a successful one. Whenever I’ve met our volunteers, their passion, commitment and enthusiasm has shone through – and that can only help us grow our supporter base and raise the funds needed to tame prostate cancer sooner.

My volunteering pledge

In my personal experience of volunteering, I’ve met many amazing people and got so much out of it. I hope I’ve made a contribution at the same time but in all honesty, that hasn’t always been my motivation; sometimes it’s been wanting to experience something new, wanting to be part of the action or wanting to stay connected with something.

I can’t wait to meet more of our volunteers and supporters at some of our events this year – I’m signed up for the Grand Depart cycle ride and of course I’ll be supporting our March for Men events.  

I’m also committed to several other charities. I’m a trustee at Women’s Environmental Network and will be dedicating time to helping them grow their membership. I’ll also be helping my daughter with her fundraising efforts – she’s doing a skydive for Mind later in the year, and in October I’ll be taking a week’s annual leave to lead a trek for Sense with 30 people in the Simeon mountains in Ethiopia.  Volunteering can have its perks!

 

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