My name is Danielle Gilson.

I am 33 years old and I have down syndrome. I live outside of Wereham.

My family: Mum, Dad and I also have two sister, two brothers.

I have worked for the Norfolk hospice for nearly 10 years now.  I originally decided to start volunteering at The Norfolk Hospice because I was born with down syndrome and I have not got a job so I thought it would be a great idea to start volunteering.

When I first started working for the Norfolk hospice I was really nervous and scared because I did not know anyone but when I met the managers, the other volunteers they were really kind to me and made me feel welcome into the shop, I settled in really quickly.

  • I really love going out shopping with family and friends
  • In my spare time I like making cards
  • I love cooking and making cakes
  • I like going swimming
  • I do like helping my mum to so some housework

My career and background

I worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital doing project search programme and I worked in three different departments: the patients record library, HR and rehab.


My volunteer role is:

  • Steam and hang clothes so they are ready to sell in the shop
  • Using the tagging gun to put price tickets on the clothes
  • One of my favourite jobs is to using a stamper to stamp the price tickets
  • Help to do window displays
  • Sorting quality donations
  • Serve customers
  • Help to organise books
  • Use the credit card machine
  • Writing gift aid records

Another one of my favourite jobs to do is being able to serve the customers and the regular customers at the till getting to know them really well especially the regular customers who comes in the shop to. I also know their names now which is a good thing to know.  All the customers always come up to me and say how lovely I am and that makes me really happy.

What is the best thing about volunteering at the Norfolk Hospice?

Doing lots of different tasks what I have not done before and I really enjoy doing all them tasks what Karen and Maggie gives me to do, they are amazing managers because they always make me smile.

What have you got out of volunteering for the hospice?

I have learned lots of new skills I have not done before and I couldn’t learn all of the new skills without Karen and Maggie’s help. I would not know what I would do without them; they would always be there when I need them to help with anything.

Karen is not just my boss she is like a second mum to me and she would always look after me and look out for me to, she would do anything for me.

I always like to keep busy and doing all my jobs I have to do, I really enjoy everything about volunteering for the Norfolk Hospice because it keeps me really active and it also gives me a challenge to. I have also made lots of new friends and they are really kind, caring people, they would always look out for me.

I have achieved a lot of things and I am really proud of myself for doing all of them things like being able to work for the Norfolk hospice charity shop and being able to go out in the community on my own and doing the things what I really enjoy the most.

Volunteering has really build up my confidence and I never thought I would have any but my mum said to me you have lots of confidence to work in the shop and when I first met Karen she said to me you work very well.

On Wednesday mornings I work with a really lovely lady and she I work with a really lovely lady and always makes me laugh and smile to. That is why I love working with her because we always have lots of fun while we are working together and getting on with our jobs we have to do.  This lady is a very special lady because she always looks after me and looks out for me to.

I really love working with everyone and they are really lovely people who I work with.

Does Danielle's story make you feel like volunteering? Look at our Volunteer Opportunities