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Caring volunteers help patients in own homes
5:50pm Saturday 30th November 2013 in News
A VOLUNTEER scheme has been launched by a Worcester hospice to offer patients a helping hand at home.
St Richard’s Community Volunteers give assistance with day-to-day tasks such as shopping, ironing and walking the dog. Already 60 volunteers are supporting patients in their homes across the county, including in Worcester, Droitwich, Malvern, Pershore, Evesham and Bredon.
The charity is keen to extend services and recruit more volunteers. Rosemary Blackburn, from Worcester, is one of the patients who has benefited from the project.
And the 86-year-old said her helper had been invaluable in enabling her to remain independent. “She is wonderful,” she said. “I could not ask for anyone better. We have so much in common.
“She takes me shopping and always says if I am not up to it she will just come and sit with me and have a chat. I am so grateful.” The project was officially launched on Wednesday but in October alone the scheme supported 34 patients.
Project co-ordinator Thelma Wingfield said: “I am delighted the scheme is up and running and already making a significant difference to patients and families in local communities.
“We understand that when someone has a life-threatening illness it’s difficult to deal with the everyday tasks that still need to be done.” A community volunteer can be anyone aged 18 years or older who is willing to attend the hospice for training sessions. No specific skills are needed, just an ability to get on with people and a desire to help.
Pershore volunteer Jenny Title said: “I feel that patients have peace of mind knowing that we have been checked and trained by the hospice and have relevant identification before allowing us into their homes at a vulnerable time. “When I visit a patient I am acting in a non-medical capacity, which I think is nice for the patient.
“They have said how much they have enjoyed having the support of a volunteer to help out or sometimes just to sit and chat. This works both ways, as I come away with a feelgood factor, too.”
St Richard’s currently has more than 1,000 volunteers who support the charity in a variety of roles – serving in hospice shops, as drivers, caring for patients and administration. Mrs Wingfield said: “This is a new project and we would love people to come forward who have perhaps never 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.” For more information, telephone 01905 763963 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.