Clinical Scientist Beth Hoskins specialises in molecular genetics at GOSH. She analyses DNA tests from patients with rare conditions to test for abnormalities. When not at GOSH, Beth volunteers for GoodGym, a community of runners from all over the UK who work out while helping others.
She has clocked up 1,600 kilometres jogging around her borough carrying out 500 'good deeds', including running every week to see an isolated 64-year-old called Paul.
She has also helped turf the roof of the Southbank in London, carry eight tonnes of woodchip in Queen Elizabeth Park, and move a pirate ship climbing frame for a community garden in Plaistow.
She was recently awarded The Points of Light Award from Theresa May congratulating her for her outstanding work helping others within the community.
How did you get into volunteering?
I joined GoodGym four years ago as I wanted to get into running. We run together, volunteer and run back again. We complete various tasks such as tidying a community garden or helping to sort donations at a food bank. I became hooked, and now attend two group runs a week.
I take part in missions, where runners visit an elderly person’s home and help them complete a task that they can’t do by themselves, such as gardening or changing a lightbulb. Most of these people are elderly, and often feel isolated when they live alone.
"I visit a man called Paul every week. I run to his home and stay for about half an hour, having a chat. Occasionally I’ll do simple things such as sewing a button on his coat but the main thing is to just be a friendly face that he sees every week."
I wanted to help people on a regular and personal basis. It’s nice to combine both of my passions which is helping people and running. It’s a chance to meet new friends, and experience interacting with people who work in different areas to me.
What do you enjoy most when volunteering?
Meeting new people and helping them through volunteering is a very rewarding experience. I enjoy the feeling of helping to make a huge difference in someone’s life. I remember taking part in a mission which involved moving furniture so that an elderly couple could sleep comfortably in the same room again. A little team effort made this a big achievement for them. Little things like that make you feel better and you walk away with a warm glow.
It’s nice to visit Paul every week and to be a listening ear for someone who is alone. It’s a small thing to do, just spending time chatting over a cup of tea but it really makes such a difference to his day. It’s also nice when he asks questions about how my week is going, as sometimes nobody else may have time to ask me how I am feeling during a busy day.
Random Acts of Kindness Day celebrates those who lend a helping hand, re-kindle community spirit and strive to make a difference in someone’s life.