Jill's 20 Year Volunteering Journey

Jill Bowman

Best of all, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s wonderful.

— Jill

We have such a huge range of fantastic volunteers that give up their time for our charity. We couldn’t do what we do for local children, young adults and families without our volunteers. Including those that volunteer on our care floor.

Jill, from Basingstoke, has been a Family Support volunteer for over 20 years at Naomi House & Jacksplace. She helps our Support Worker in running a mixture of therapeutic and fun activities for our sibling and bereaved sibling group days, and for other group activities.

Jill Bowman with girl, baking during sibling support day

She shared with us her experience of volunteering at the hospices.

Jill said:

Supporting the siblings of children with additional needs mean a lot me, as they are such a special group of children who deserve the chance to be themselves. 

I have worked with siblings previously during my career as a Paediatric Nurse. I love volunteering at the hospices, and I do it because I want to give back to the families. I hope that my previous experience lends itself to the position. It’s great to know that I am helpful in any small way.

Jill Bowman helping girl during siblings support day

I have volunteered here for so long and over the years, I’ve been able to build meaningful relationships with the children who regularly attend sibling groups. It’s been wonderful to see them grow.

Best of all, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s wonderful.

Jill with a sibling during a sibing support and activity day

The support that Naomi House & Jacksplace offers to siblings is wonderful. It’s a safe and understanding environment where they can be open and talk with peers who share similar experiences.

— Jill
Jenny Astall smiling in front of brick wall

Jill mainly supports Jenny Astall, our Children and Young People’s Support Worker here at Naomi House & Jacksplace. We spoke to Jenny about the value that Jill and all of our volunteers bring to the hospices.

Jenny said:

Volunteers are essential for us to be able to put on the support group events. Jill has been volunteering at Naomi House & Jacksplace for a very long time. She supports me in running a mixture of therapeutic groups and fun activities during our family support events.

Jenny helping a sibling with baking activity

Jill has such a great way of being with the children and over the years, has built great relationships with siblings and their families. This makes the children feel safe when opening up about their feelings. She helps reassure those that are more nervous to join the siblings’ groups as well.

Jill supports me during the sessions we host for siblings and other groups, from setting up and clearing away activities, to providing a listening ear for the children that attend the events. 

Volunteers have great skills, and they can utilise them in supporting the children that attend our various group activities.

I see volunteers as part of our team. They are essential to our hospices and the work we do.

— Jenny Astall
Jenny with siblings during a cook stars baking class

We hold bereaved siblings’ groups throughout the year. During our sessions, we host a range of activities that help the siblings manage their feelings, such as arts and crafts. We focus on therapeutic activities too, like making stress balls and decorating cushions that children are encouraged to hug when they feel lonely, and hit when they are upset.

We hold an additional siblings’ group, for the siblings of current service users. The siblings support groups offer the children a space to talk about their feelings openly and enjoy fun activities together.

Both groups also focus on relieving isolation in the children whose brothers and sisters are using our hospices. Being in a space with children who share similar experiences, they understand that they aren’t alone.

cookstars baking session with boys group, with boys baking around a table

In addition to both siblings groups, Jenny runs another group for boys who have a similar health condition. The group gives the boys a space to get together, with their peers who may share some of the same challenges. They get to make friends and this can help to relieve isolation.

Jill Bowman received her 20 year long service award

Jill has been volunteering at Naomi House & Jacksplace for 21 years and last year, she was presented with a volunteer long service award.


Find out more about becoming a Naomi House & Jacksplace volunteer and make a difference to life limited and life threatened children, young adults and their families, like Jill.

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