VOLUNTEERS and staff at Prospect Hospice were delighted to hear this week that the charity has achieved the prestigious Investing in Volunteers award.

The award recognises good practice in the hospice’s volunteer management.

The announcement comes after a year-long process which included three assessment days at the hospice during which volunteers and staff provided extensive evidence to an external assessor showing that its management of volunteers meets the highest standards nationally.

This is the first time in its 36-year history that Prospect has achieved this level of recognition for volunteer management — and it is one of only five hospices across England to have achieved it.

Volunteers have a huge role in supporting the hospice, volunteering alongside staff in every area of its work, bringing expertise, commitment and energy to everything it does across the whole organisation.

Last year volunteers gave nearly 120,000 hours of support to the hospice, the equivalent of nearly 17,143 days or 72 staff working a full week for every week of the year.

“This is a very rewarding day for Prospect Hospice,” Phillipa Huxtable Head of Voluntary Services told the Adver.

“I must give credit to the volunteers and staff whose input was vital during the assessment days, and who I know clearly left an incredible and lasting impression on our assessor. “

Phillipa added: “At the time she [the assessor] indicated that we had done a great deal to create a positive volunteering culture with firm foundations that we can build on for the future.

“We are very pleased that the result from the National Panel has confirmed the good news we had all hoped for.

“Everyone at Prospect Hospice appreciates the value that volunteers can add and that is why our voluntary services team invest considerable time and energy in ensuring we recruit volunteers who can make a real impact at the hospice.

“We are, as ever, hugely appreciative of the support that volunteers give in enabling us to deliver free, high quality services for local patients and their families.”

Prospect Hospice, based at Wroughton supports a community of 300,000 people in Swindon, Marlborough and north Wiltshire, and the villages of Lechlade and Fairford in Gloucestershire.

In 2014-15 the Hospice cared for and supported more than 6,400 people, as patients, carers and family members, through a range of services developed to bring care, comfort and confidence at life’s most difficult time.

Last year it cost more than £7.2m to provide the care and raise the funds for patients and their families.