Can you offer a Supporting Hand to local hospice at home patients and families?
Can you lend a hand? Rennie Grove Hospice Care is seeking people with a little time to spare to join a team of volunteers who are making a big difference to local people living with cancer or other life limiting illnesses.
Now approaching its second anniversary, the charity’s Supporting Hands team hopes to boost its numbers as it expands to meet the needs of families throughout its Hospice at Home services in Bucks and west Herts.
From helping to get people out of the house, for example a visit to the garden centre or coffee shop, helping out the Mums and Dads of children receiving care from our children’s hospice at home team, to preparing a light meal or helping with a bit of gardening, the tasks taken on by Supporting Hands volunteers help lighten the load for local people and their families facing particularly challenging times. And although practical help is always needed, the emotional support that comes from a chat over a cuppa and a bit of companionship can also be all that’s needed to make life less daunting.
If you are recently retired, not working, or perhaps on a career break and are able to spare a few hours on a regular basis, this volunteer role might be for you. There is a particular need for help in the Marlow, Maidenhead, Burnham, Denham, Iver and Gerrards Cross areas, but vacancies also exist across the charity’s south Bucks and Wycombe teams.
“Demand for our specialist nursing service in patients’ homes has been increasing each year, especially in south Bucks,” said Jenny Skinner, Supporting Hands Project Lead.
“We launched Supporting Hands so that we could ensure that patients and their families receive all the support they need to ensure they continue to have the choice to remain at home, surrounded by friends and family for as long as possible.”
You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a member of Rennie Grove’s Supporting Hands team, but you will need to be able to spare a few hours on a regular basis. All volunteers receive training and are then matched with a patient/family identified as likely to benefit from this special form of help and support.
Volunteers provide informal support; the role is not that of a cleaner, gardener or personal carer, and volunteers do not provide clinical and medical support or advise on medical matters.
Volunteer Barbara Brereton joined up when the scheme was launched in the summer of 2017. Emotional support and companionship are key elements of the help she gives through chats about their families and places they have lived and visited. “It wasn’t long before I realised we had many things in common,” she said.
“I think if you can make a difference to someone going through a difficult and bewildering time in their life by offering them a ‘Supporting Hand’ then that is both a privilege and a very worthwhile experience,” she added.