Can you put your skills to use as a Rennie Grove volunteer?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 September 2018

Volunteers at The Tea Bar at St Albans Magistrates' Court.

Volunteers at The Tea Bar at St Albans Magistrates' Court.


You may not yet know it, but you probably possess a skill or talent that can make a real difference to local people living with a life-limiting illness.

From receptionists to retail assistants, fundraisers to photographers and complementary therapists to van drivers, there is no limit to the hands-on help Rennie Grove Hospice Care receives from its much-valued volunteers.

Across Herts and Bucks, the 1,500 volunteers give their time in a surprising number of ways.

Did you know, for instance, that the little gem of a tea and coffee spot inside St Albans Magistrates Court is run entirely by volunteers and all profits go to help Rennie Grove’s nursing care and services for local patients and their families?

At what must be the lowest prices for miles – just £1 for tea and £1.20 for a filter coffee – the affectionately-named Tea Bar raises more than £10,500 for Rennie Grove every year and this sum is steadily increasing.

The prices might be just criminal, but you don’t have to be up in court to drop in for a cuppa; everyone is welcome, just mention to staff at the door that you’re gasping for refreshment and then take a seat.

Latte and cappuccino are also on the menu, plus hot chocolate or a warming soup when the weather turns chilly. You can also tuck into toasted tea cake or some buttered toast if you are feeling peckish.

“Volunteers love working at the Tea Bar and it is a great way of giving something back to Rennie Grove especially if you have been through a frightening illness yourself or had family members going through a similar situation,” said Joyce Zannoni, lead volunteer at the Tea Bar.

No matter how small the amount of time you have available or how much, you are guaranteed to make a big difference at Rennie Grove where volunteers last year were rewarded with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Known as the MBE for volunteers, the award recognised the 140,000 hours of volunteers’ time that helps the charity each year, estimated to be worth around £1.5 million.

Rennie Grove’s volunteer vacancies are listed on its website and include an eBay photographer, new members for fundraising groups, administrative roles for teams across the charity, a nursing phone line operator and several driving roles.

It is also looking for an experienced ICT strategist to join its Board of Trustees.

Enquiry forms about all volunteer opportunities are available at or call 01727 731000 or 01442 890222 for further information.

“If you’re interested in volunteering, you won’t regret it, you’ll love it.

“It gets you out, meeting people and living life in a happy environment,” added Joyce.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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