The award is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, being equivalent to the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
It was presented at an official ceremony by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, accompanied by Deputy Lieutenants Colonel Martin Amlôt OBE OStJ DL and Mr Nigel Lanceley, in the presence of The Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy.
The Care for the Dying, Volunteers Service provides support for patients who are receiving end of life care in the hospital, complementing the clinical care provided by the professional medical and healthcare staff.
The volunteers provide extra support and a reassuring presence for patients whose
family are not able to be present or can enable families who are present to take a break from patients’ bedsides to rest, eat or take a shower knowing their loved one is not being left alone.
This award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities and the service was informed it was a winner back in June 2017, with volunteer Coordinator Alison Germain, and volunteer representative Pauline Brenigan attending the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace to represent the service.
The Care for the Dying, Volunteers Service was first started at the Trust in 2012 as part of a research project funded by Dimbleby Cancer Care and Marie Curie, which trained the volunteers and evaluated their impact through the Palliative Care Institute, University of Liverpool. Following very positive feedback from staff, volunteers and bereaved relatives, the service has since been rolled out across the Trust.
Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive of the Trust, said the Care for the Dying, Volunteer Service has become an essential part of the outstanding palliative and end of life care services provided at the Trust.
“The volunteers provide a very human connection, extending a hand of friendship at a very difficult time in people’s lives, he said. “They are a very special group of people whose innate sense of gentleness and sincerity provides a very calming and reassuring presence for patients and their families and we feel very privileged and proud to have them.”