Centre Training Manager Laura Holdstock recently took advantage of the iTEC and VTCT Volunteering Scheme for colleagues, which enables employees to take some time out to volunteer at a cause of their choice.
She chose to spend her time with Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), the only international cancer support charity that helps boost the physical and emotional wellbeing of people undergoing cancer treatment. The charity has been running workshops for over 25 years in the UK. Last year they helped over 17,500 women across the country, and more recently have expanded the service to include men and young adults. Laura selected to volunteer at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton at The Beacon Centre (the cancer unit).
The free two hour workshops are led by trained volunteers like Laura and give individuals a chance to meet others in similar situations as well as helping them to learn some useful skills and techniques on skin care and make-up application. This helps them to manage the side-effects of cancer treatment. It also aims to give those taking part a real confidence boost, something they may really need after facing surgery or gruelling treatment regimes.
Everyone who attends also receives a gift which contains a cleanser and moisturising products, a full makeup kit including everything from foundation to lipstick and a fragrance or body product. The products are kindly donated by LGFB member companies, and the charity sources 250,000 products a year this way.
Laura chose LGFB as a former cancer sufferer herself. She had cancer of the salivary glands 7 years ago, which involved invasive surgery to her face and neck. As a result of this, she became more acutely aware of her appearance. At the time of her illness, she was not aware of LGFB and their services weren’t available in her area, but after seeing them mentioned on a charity Christmas card, she did some research and decided to get involved in supporting them. She is also a trained beauty therapist, particularly enjoying the massage and reflexology aspects of the profession, but also has a real interest in skin care.
“My experience has been extremely rewarding, I have only been involved in the women’s sessions so far and seeing the smiles on the ladies’ faces, and hearing the laughter is amazing. They start to network and share their experiences and nervously try out their new products. They all seem to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the session, and if able to, go out to lunch with friends to show off their new look. The confidence it instils is amazing. I am really enjoying this opportunity and although make-up is not my favourite thing to do, I feel that using my skills and knowledge in such a way makes a small difference to each and every one of these ladies.”
Find out more about Look Good Feel Better