Words by Smiley Team
It may not sound like a lot, but making the beds, a trip to a cafe or simply having a chat can make a huge difference.
And simple tasks like these, which most of us perform every day, form the basis of the community volunteering team at Blythe House Hospice, in High Peak, Derbyshire.
Their team of community volunteers visit people with life limiting illnesses - like cancer, heart failure or Parkinson’s - who are living at home but who would benefit greatly from some practical or emotional support.
Rachel Dennett joined the community volunteer scheme in February 2019, and has found it has improved her own wellbeing as well as those she helps.
She was inspired to join after seeing how helpful her local hospice at home team were when her father died. She explained: “I’ve been involved with one patient and their carer so far.
“I support them in a number of practical ways such as ironing, changing beds, shopping, cooking meals, along with being someone to talk to. It is a really satisfying and interesting role and I’d thoroughly recommend it.”
Volunteer Karan Bradley has also seen the benefits of spending a few hours a month as a volunteer for the hospice in her local community. She said: ‘I think the wonderful thing about volunteering is that you’re just giving your time; you’re not doing anything particularly special. “You’re listening, talking, making time and making a difference to people’s lives. Anyone can volunteer; you don’t have to have lots of experience or qualifications, you just have to be a compassionate person and be able to give a little or a lot of your time.”
The hospice is situated in the Peak District, where the hilly, rural terrain means people often have to travel some distance for care and support. The community volunteering programme means that Blythe House Hospice can ensure that care is close to home and that people in the High Peak area can continue to live in and enjoy their own towns, villages and communities.
For more information see blythehousehospice.org.uk/volunteer-for-us/community-volunteer-project.
By Jenna Sloan