Meet our volunteers – Searle Kochberg

Searle Kochberg – Runs our Film Club

I’ve been involved as a volunteer with the hospice for around 18 months, running the film club for patients, carers and volunteers. I host an online 90-minute talk once a month where we discuss different films and themes, and everyone who attends is really engaged with the subject matter. 

I’m a recently retired film studies lecturer and documentary filmmaker, teaching at various universities over the past 30 years or so. I happened to overhear a conversation at one of the North London Hospice charity shops about how they were looking for volunteers, and I was six months away from retirement. So, I just said, well, how about it? Then the volunteer at the shop said the hospice were looking to set up a film club. It was a kind of serendipitous moment, that one. 

I hate the word retirement, but when you move on to the next phase of your life, it’s an opportunity to reinvent yourself, not to slink back into the sofa. I find that volunteer work is terrific for me because it keeps me on my toes, and it’s so lovely to be in a community of volunteers. It’s a way of building a community within a community, learning about and being a part of something. 

Being a volunteer is about empathy and understanding. It can’t be an ego trip. My advice to prospective volunteers would be, know why you want to do it. There will be a place for you within the organisation. North London Hospice has a fantastic reputation, and it’s just great to be part of that. Everybody has their own niche and set of skills and nobody’s better than anyone else. Just go for it!