Hope House charity in Worthing appeals for volunteers

A WORTHING woman who set up a charity in her own home is appealing for volunteers to come and join the “Hope family”.

Fiona Legh-Ellis set up Hope House in Warwick Gardens to “help people to help themselves”, and now needs to find about 16 more volunteers before May if the charity’s official launch is to run smoothly.

Fiona has already put nine people through her training programme, and provides it free of charge to encourage volunteers to come forward.

She said: “I have had to postpone the next lot of training because I have only had four people sign up for it, and I need 10 to run it.

“The nine volunteers here have all now completed a 37-hour training course over three months. They had a lot of fun but they also worked very hard, and I’m very proud of all of them.”

Currently, the volunteers, who will help local families in crisis, range in age from people in their 20s to late 60s.

But 54-year-old therapist Fiona said she was willing to take on people of all ages and backgrounds.

She said: “People think that they’re not clever enough, or they’re not efficent enough or they’re not enough of something, but what they don’t realise is that we can train them up.

“One of the women I have trained has never had any formal education since she was 12, and she’s brilliant. People will always be perfect for at least one job.

“I think everyone needs to know that there’s nothing scary about volunteer work. Volunteers are like gold dust to me so they are completely safe.”

The charity has also received a £400 donation from Worthing Police, which Fiona said would be used to fund the supervision of the volunteers for 12 months.

The donation comes from money raised by the police by selling off property that is confiscated by court order.

Chief Inspector Ian Pollard, Worthing and Adur district commander, said: “It’s vitally important that there is help available for the people in our community who are most in need.”

Once Hope House is in full swing, Fiona hopes to have 50 volunteers, and has her sights set on achieving this before the new year. Anyone wanting to volunteer at Hope House should contact Fiona on 01930 202258, or email hopehouse@hotmail.co.uk