MEET the generous students who are giving their time to help patients at Havens hospices by working in kitchens, ironing bed linen and helping children.

There are currently 970 volunteers at Havens, who saved the charity £2.6million in 2013.

Among them is Ruth Jenkinson, 21, who, after spending her teenage years in and out of hospital, decided she wanted to do something to help others.

Ruth, a University of Essex student, started volunteering at Little Havens Children’s Hospice in 2012, by ironing children’s bed linen. However, it soon became apparent she had the personality needed to work more closely with children and their families as a volunteer care team assistant.

Ruth, from Rayleigh, said: “I believe everyone brings something to this world, however long or short they’re here for, and the children here all bring something to their families and to all of us.

“I’m not a miracle-worker and unfortunately I can’t make children better, but one thing I can do is make them smile and laugh, so that’s what I focus on.

“I’m the biggest kid going and am usually the first one in the ball pit!

“I have so many happy memories and moments which have made me proud to be a volunteer at Little Havens.

“On occasions, I have been able to persuade children who’ve been feeling down and haven’t been out of bed in a long time to play again.

“There is so much specialist equipment and toys at Little Havens that nobody misses out, whatever their illness or disability.

Everyone has the chance to be a child.”

Ruth was so inspired by her experiences she trekked the Himalayas to raise £2,636 for the charity in October last year.

Temitayo Oyeniyi, 16, from Leigh, joined Havens Hospices’ Young Ambassador project in July last year.

He is studying for his A-levels at Southend High School for Boys and is hoping to one day become a doctor.

Volunteering as a kitchen assistant at Fair Havens, Temitayo helps to deliver evening meals to seriously ill patients.

Temitayo said: “I was a little apprehensive about volunteering as I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it may be very serious all the time, but it’s actually one of the happiest places I’ve ever been.

“I love talking to patients. I think just talking forawhile can help make their day a little brighter and that’s definitely the most rewarding thing.

“I’ve always wanted to become a doctor, but wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to relate to patients. Here, I’ve learnt how to relate to them sensitively and really listen to individuals.

“I think it’s the most wonderful experience you can have at this age.”

Applications for the next Young Ambassador project open in September. For more information about this or other available opportunities, call volunteer services on 01702 426240 or