Our brand new Hospice is expected to be completed towards the end of the year, and we’re all really looking forward to moving into to our new state of the art building and welcoming in our first patients.
When we move back in, we’re looking for around 50 new volunteers to support the day-to-day operation of the Hospice. When we moved our inpatient unit temporarily to Keynsham, it was a smaller site, so we had to stand down some of our volunteers, but we’re now seeking new volunteers to help us.
There are a variety of volunteer roles including:
- Supporting health care assistants in ensuring patients are comfortable and have everything they need as well as spending time chatting with patients if required.
- Helping out at the hospice coffee shop, helping prepare and serve drinks as well as snacks such as paninis and sandwiches.
- Helping with the floral displays in the unit and patients’ bedrooms.
- Helping out on ward reception, meeting and greeting families, taking calls and passing on messages to staff.
- Complementary therapists are also being sought to volunteer their time, offering treatments such as hand massages, aromatherapy and reflexology. Therapists need to have a diploma in their field, their own insurance and be members of an industry body and ideally have a year’s experience of private practice.
We need our volunteers mainly in the evenings and at weekends, but there are roles available during the week also. Hear from some of our current volunteers on why they find the Hospice such a fulfilling place to volunteer…
Sue Forse: Floral displays
Sue Forse is a keen gardener, so was quickly recruited to the job of looking after our floral displays.
Normally flowers are not allowed in medical settings. However due to the fact that a team of volunteers refresh the displays and change the water daily, flowers are a welcome feature of the hospice.
Sue, 71, now volunteers at the hospice every other Monday for three hours, tending to the floral displays in the main hospice building and the patients’ bedrooms.
“Having flowers as you walk in is so welcoming. The patients and the families love the displays and say it makes the unit feel very homely. I wanted to put something back into the community, I am very lucky to be fit and healthy and enjoying life.”
“The staff do such a valuable job here, and I know that they very much value the support of the volunteers in supporting the patients. The hospice is not a gloomy place – anything but. It is full of love and laughter and it is wonderful to be part of the hospice family working as a volunteer. St Peter’s is an excellent charity and one which has a lot of support in Bristol. I love being part of a team which makes patients’ days brighter.”
Maggie Donaghue: Serving meals and being a companion
Retired GP Maggie Donaghue was inspired to become a volunteer in the inpatient unit after seeing first hand the work of the hospice.
As a GP of more than 30 years, Maggie had worked with the hospice over the years, referring clients to the unit and the day hospice.
Her husband Ian was also cared for at the hospice after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. He died at the hospice, surrounded by his family 14 years ago at the age of 59.
Maggie now supports the healthcare assistants on the unit with tasks such as serving meals and drinks as well as being a companion to patients and their families, volunteering for four hours each fortnight.
“During my work as a GP we used the hospice a lot. Not just the inpatient unit but also the hospice at home and to get advice from their specialist teams. My husband Ian was also cared for by the hospice. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for him. On a personal and professional level I have been so impressed with the care the hospice provides to the community of Bristol and wanted to get involved.”
“I am not there because of my medical background. But I am used to people being ill and am not scared of it. To be able to help on a unit which offers such amazing care to people is incredible. It is not a sad place. It is place full of light and laughter. The atmosphere on the inpatient unit is a very positive one. Every time I finish my shift I go home feeling so good.”
“One time that really sticks in my mind is when a patient asked me to help write out letters to her three sons. She had never really talked to them about her dying. I felt very privileged I was able to support her in that. It’s the little things in life that can make such a difference. I feel honoured to be part of the hospice family.”
Tony Dyer: Driver and coffee shop volunteer
Granddad of six Tony Dyer started volunteering at the hospice after the death of his wife Lesley. Lesley from Yate was diagnosed with lung cancer when she was 58 years old and despite chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment she died at the inpatient unit in 2010.
Initially Tony started volunteering in the coffee shop once a fortnight. But now he also drives once a week, transporting supplies and helping staff to move around sites.
“I was up here every day with Lesley. The care and love she received was incredible and the care staff and volunteers became our friends and a constant source of support. Not only did the hospice do a fantastic job of looking after Lesley, they also looked after me. They gave me counselling and were by my side every step of the way. There was nothing they wouldn’t do.”
“If I can repay them by giving up some of my time, I am more than happy to do so. The thing about volunteering is you get more out of it than you give. The hospice is an uplifting place and I always come out of there feeling very fulfilled.”
If you’re interested in volunteering with us at our new hospice, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Russell Cowan, who manages our volunteers on 0117 9159448 or download and complete our application form, and return it to Russell Cowan, Head of Volunteer Resources, St Peter’s Hospice, Charlton Road, Brentry, Bristol, BS10 6NL