A group of foster kittens sitting in a cat bed.

What's it like to volunteer with Blue Cross?

There's a lot our volunteers do to support our work. But what can being a volunteer look like for you?

From supporting the smooth running of our animal hospitals to preparing pets for life in a new home, our volunteer roles have a huge impact on our services. Wondering what it's like to join the team? Here's what some of our volunteers had to say about their experience.

Jess, Retail Shop Assistant

Jess volunteers at our Hereford charity shop, ensuring the smooth running of the shopfront and the stock room. While she was recommended to volunteer, Jess was initially nervous, but has since found it to be a source of confidence. She has now celebrated ten years of volunteering with Blue Cross.

“I love being here. Every day is really varied. I like volunteering in the stock room the most as it’s interesting looking at all the donated items. I’d also say it’s the team as we get along just like a family — we get on really well and we just get the job done.”

Charity shop volunteer Jess organises a railing of clothing.

“It’s given me a real boost of confidence and I feel more outgoing in general. For someone that was really shy, volunteering has really brought me out of my shell.

“I would highly recommend volunteering 100 per cent if you are looking for experience or increased confidence in retail. I would volunteer first and then this can hopefully lead to you gaining a paid job in retail or any other business.

“I can also see the effect it has on others. We had one volunteer start who was also really shy and I told her about my experience. I think this has helped her to gain confidence too.”

Trevor, Volunteer Driver

Trevor volunteers at our Hertfordshire Centre and helps out in a variety of roles including driving, vehicle maintenance and as dog and cat carer.

As Trevor lives somewhere where he cannot have a pet of his own, volunteering at the centre enables him to have hands-on contact with pets, something he finds so beneficial for his own mental health.

“I have been a volunteer at Blue Cross since June 2022, and I am still loving all my roles. I don’t think I ever said that in my engineering career in 45 years. Blue Cross has helped fill the void of not owning my own pet, and I really like volunteering with like-minded people who share my love of animals.

“A few months ago, I caught up with a lot of my former work colleagues and they even commented on how well I looked — that must have something to do with Blue Cross too!

“In November 2023, I had the privilege of representing Blue Cross at the National Service of Remembrance in London along with other Blue Cross colleagues — a day that will live me forever, and I was immensely proud of representing the charity. I would never have had the opportunity to do that in my career.”

Tessa, Pet Loss Support Volunteer

Losing a pet is losing a part of the family. Pet Loss Support (PLS) volunteer Tessa talks about how her journey with grief led her to give back to others in need.

“As I wondered how I would be able to rebuild my life without my pets, I was aware they [PLS] were directing me into this role of helping bereaved pet owners and so I applied to Blue Cross to become a PLS volunteer. It was made plain to me that I needed a year to recover from my own grief before considering supporting others: to go through one anniversary and one Christmas. Once I was stronger and able to help others I applied and was accepted for the training.

“Once I had logged on to the eight week course and began reading I was hooked. The learning experience was tough but inspiring and I found each assignment so interesting. I learned about grief and how to support others through it; the tools for my role on the phoneline.

“Knowing I have the full support of the PLS team based in Burford was very reassuring and it was nice to feel part of a team even though I was based at home.”

Read Tessa's story

A day in the life of a volunteer

Volunteering can be busy and exciting! Find out what some of our volunteers get up to on a typical day in the life.

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