The MP for Durham helped out at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, serving lunch and spending time in the day hospice, to find out more about the vital work of volunteers.
Speaking to ehospice after the event, Roberta said St Cuthbert’s is an “amazing place to volunteer”.
“I really enjoyed volunteering – it was hugely enjoyable and I was quite sad to have to leave,” Roberta said.
“I’ve always been impressed by the work that St Cuthbert’s Hospice does in our local community and I think many people aren’t aware of how much volunteers are needed. Working with the team at the hospice has been a fantastic experience and I thoroughly commend the vital work they do.”
The Shadow Planning and Procurement Minister described the day care facilities and activities in hospices as fantastic lifelines for people.
She stressed the importance of Hospice Care Week as another way of letting people know about the work hospices do in their community.
“Anything that can be done to highlight the work of hospices is a really good thing,” Roberta said.
“It’s really important people know about hospices and what they do. People can know about (hospices) without necessarily knowing about what they can do for them – the help and support they can give.
“Hospice Care Week means people can concentrate their efforts on hospices for a dedicated week.”
St Cuthbert’s Hospice must raise about £1.2 million every year just to keep delivery services locally. Roberta said that hospices face a challenging environment now and into the future, but that with hard work and involvement of volunteers, it is possible to keep providing such vital services.
“St Cuthbert’s is embedded into the community and they have a lot of volunteers,” she said.
Karen Grigg, HR Manager at the hospice, said: “We are blessed to have many volunteers who are willing to give up their free time for the hospice. People come from all walks of life and from many different backgrounds; they help with everything from our coffee shop and retail department, to our inpatient unit and fundraising team. We are always looking for people to join the team at the hospice and make a real difference.”
Roberta first got involved with St Cuthbert’s Hospice, which helps around 1,000 people each year, when she became MP for Durham seven years ago. The hospice was trying to build their residential service and was having some problems with government grants. After being approached to help, she stayed involved as “they were such a great group of people”.
“They were not at all daunted by having to raise such a huge amount of money,” she said.
Staying involved by writing letters of support and “doing what I can”, Roberta went to great heights for the hospice, taking part in a fundraising skydive a couple of years ago.
As part of this year’s Hospice Care Week, UK hospices were invited to get their local MPs involved, either to volunteer or simply to learn more about what they do and offer their support.