A LOCAL charity has said they have been hit hard by the impact of the post-pandemic recruitment shortage.

Tynedale Hospice at Home, which provides care services across 800 square miles of Northumberland, is facing a volunteer shortage prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hospice provides end-of-life care as well as hospital transport and bereavement support.

As part of its fundraising operations, it has shops in Hexham, Prudhoe and Ponteland, along with a new large second-hand furniture shop which opened this month just off the A69.

David Parkinson, Tynedale Hospice at Home Retail Operations Manager, said: "Although we continue to benefit from the support of many volunteers in our shops, we have found that during lockdown, over the last 18 months, some have taken the decision to step back.

"In some cases that has meant retiring a little earlier than might otherwise have been the case.

"Retail operations are no different to those throughout Tynedale Hospice at Home - a lack of volunteers will initially impact those already serving the charity. Ultimately the fear is it will impact the service we offer too."

The shortage has also begun to impact the numbers of volunteers providing vital local services, the charity said, including Family Support Volunteers who are trained to provide support to anyone coming to terms with a bereavement.

Sylvia Ritson, Tynedale Hospice at Home Deputy Head of Care - Family Support, said: “For so many of us, the pandemic was a chance to reflect on our lives and for some that meant bringing forward plans for the future. We lost volunteers as a result of relocation to other parts of the country. Others decided to retire.

“Our volunteers are all ages and backgrounds and are an invaluable asset. Many come to the Family Support Service because they care and want to make a difference. Helping others can also provide an incredible sense of personal satisfaction as well as much needed structure and routine in these uncertain times."

Cathy Bates, fundraising manager at the charity, added they "desperately need people to run stands at events, carry collection tins or just pitch in with an extra pair of hands".

If you would like to volunteer as a Retail Assistant, Family Support Volunteer or Fundraiser for Tynedale Hospice at Home, email volunteer@tynedalehospice.com to express your interest.

More information can also be found at www.tynedalehospice.com