St Richard’s Community Volunteers is an innovative new service offering patients a helping hand in their homes across the county of Worcestershire.
In October the scheme supported 34 patients in the area with the help of 60 Community Volunteers.
Project co-ordinator Thelma Wingfield said: “I am delighted that St Richard’s Community Volunteers scheme is up and running and already making a significant difference to patients and families in local communities.
“We are extremely fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers who give their time and energy to provide practical support and companionship to patients who want to receive care in their own homes, surrounded by the people, pets and belongings that are important to them.”
‘She is wonderful’
One St Richard’s patient, Rosemary Blackburn, is benefiting from the service.
Speaking about Community Volunteer, Ruth, she said: “She is wonderful. I could not ask for anyone better. We have so much in common.
“She takes me shopping and always says if you are not up to it I will just come and sit with you and have a chat. I am so grateful.”
Thelma is encouraging more people to get involved: “This is a new project and we would love people to come forward who have perhaps not thought about volunteering before. They only need to have a few hours to spare each week and want to offer something positive to members of their own community.
“No specific skills are needed – just the ability to get on with people and the desire to help. Volunteers will only be asked to help someone who lives in their own community so there isn’t too far to travel and they won’t be asked to do anything medical or related to personal hygiene.”
A Community Volunteer can be anyone over the age of 18 years who is willing to attend the hospice training sessions.
Award winning volunteers
St Richard’s currently has more than 1,000 volunteers who support the charity in a wide variety of roles and one special volunteer at St Richard’s was recently awarded for her outstanding efforts.
Eunice Williams was recognised for her “exceptional dedication” by winning the Help the Hospices 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award in October.
The award was presented at the Help the Hospices annual conference in October and honours her 29 years of voluntary work at the hospice.
Eunice, aged 69, was one of the original volunteers at the hospice when it was first developed in Droitwich Spa and immediately took on the responsibility for the hospice local volunteer group, which she continues to this day.
‘Volunteers are vital’
The award and the launch of the new Community Volunteer scheme comes at a time when hospice volunteering is a hot topic in the sector.
The Commission into the Future of Hospice Care highlighted volunteering as one of the key priorities when the final recommendations were launched earlier this year.
The Commission said that the profile of the hospice workforce has changed and hospices need to embrace new professionals and new roles for its staff and volunteers.
It continued: “Working with one another and their national organisations, hospices should review the way they use, train and support their volunteers. The Commission is convinced that volunteers are a vital component to the future provision of hospice care.”
To find out more:
A video celebrating the launch of the new Community Volunteer scheme, and featuring St Richard’s patient Rosemary Blackburn, can be seen on YouTube.
To find out more about becoming a St Richard’s Community Volunteer, please contact Thelma Wingfield, on 01905 763963 or email email@example.com