The Hospice of St Francis is celebrating the achievements of its student volunteers, who make up around 10 per cent of its volunteer workforce.

Student Volunteering Week between February 24 and February 28 is a national initiative to promote the positive difference that students have made to their local communities and encourage all those studying to give a little of their time to support others.

The Hospice of St Francis has many student volunteers who are in full or part time study with a high proportion under the age of 25. The students volunteer in a whole range of roles from direct patient care on the Inpatient Unit chatting to patients and serving meals, to helping out at fundraising events or working in one of the hospice’s nine Love to Give shops.

James Shutkever from Harpenden, has been volunteering at The Hospice’s Love to Give shop in Southdown every Saturday for nearly three months, as he works towards his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

The 18-year-old said: "I was partially motivated to volunteer with the HOSF for my Duke of Edinburgh, but predominantly because I think it’s important to support local charities and organisations.

"Volunteering has helped to improve my communication skills and taught me how to work as part of a team and working in a Hospice shop makes you realise how much the hospice depends on the general public for its continued success.

"It also gives me a sense of what it’s like to work as a part of a real business team and shows me that punctuality, efficiency and good communication skills are fundamental aspects of success.

"I’d recommend volunteering to anyone as it benefits the whole of the wider community and the shop has such a friendly atmosphere, which makes working there really enjoyable."