Hospital patient of over a decade dedicates more than 150 hours to charity shop to give back

A woman who has been a hospital patient for over a decade has dedicated more than 150 hours of her own time to work in a charity shop in support of the NHS.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:45 pm
Janette Songhurst, 43, was one of the first volunteers to welcome new customers to the store during its opening week. PIC: Leeds Hospitals Charity

In April 2021, Leeds Hospitals Charity opened their first community-based charity shop at Crossgates Shopping Centre.

Janette Songhurst, 43, was one of the first volunteers to welcome new customers to the store during its opening week.

Since then, Janette - who lives just ten minutes’ walk away from the shop - has dedicated over 150 hours to volunteering at the Crossgates store, raising much-needed funds to support NHS staff, patients, and families.

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Janette been a patient at Chapel Allerton Hospital, one of eight local NHS hospitals supported by the charity, for over a decade.

Janette suffers from severe psoriasis, a skin condition that can cause red, flaky, crusty patches of skin and other health complications.

To manage the aggressiveness of her condition, Janette has to take immunosuppressants twice a month.

After over twenty years of teaching, Janette took the decision to leave her job after struggling with her skin.

During the height of the pandemic, Janette had to shield for 17 weeks, spending long days alone at home while her husband Mark was at work.

Janette jumped at the chance to volunteer at the new Leeds Hospitals Charity shop when she saw an advertisement on one of her hospital visits.

She added: “I felt useless when I was sat at home, I’ve volunteered with several local organisations before, and it gave me so much joy – that was all taken away from me in the pandemic.

"I love volunteering in the shop, the team are so understanding, and I can manage my shifts around my hospital appointments.

"I’m so glad to be back out there meeting people and making new friends, I especially love when the little ones come into the shop and seeing their faces light up at all the toys!”

After the success of their first charity shop, Leeds Hospitals Charity opened their second store in the Merrion Centre at the end of May.

You can apply to volunteer in Leeds Hospitals Charity’s Crossgates or Merrion charity shops here https://volunteers.leedshospitalscharity.org.uk/opportunities

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