Sue Ryder - Leckhampton Court Hospice
Leckhampton Court Hospice
Tel: 01242 230199
Volunteers speak about supporting people receiving palliative care
This Volunteers Week two volunteers are giving a behind the scenes glimpse into what it’s like supporting people receiving palliative care from Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Sixth form student, Sarah Sunil, 18 from Cheltenham and Sue Smith, 67 from Minsterworth, both say people might think volunteering for a hospice would be a difficult thing to do, but they’ve found it to be an uplifting experience which has brought them much joy and many benefits.
Sarah, who is currently studying for her A Levels at Denmark Road High School in Gloucester said, “With the dream of working with patients in healthcare in the future, I reached out to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice to gain some work experience and greater insight into patient care.
“Before becoming a volunteer at the hospice for Sue Ryder, I wasn’t so aware of the charity-based service and its role in the community. Since taking on my role as a volunteer, I can now say that Sue Ryder has provided me with the ability to see through a new lens when it comes to palliative care.”
Sue shares that she was inspired to volunteer for Sue Ryder for a different reason. “I ran a business for a number of years and when I stopped working I really wanted to carry on doing something. Sue Ryder is amazing and it means a lot to me. I first came in contact with them when my mum was diagnosed with cancer. The charity then cared for a work colleague too.
“Sue Ryder has been a helping hand to me, and I wanted to give them a helping hand back so I got in touch with them about volunteering.”
Both Sarah and Sue have supported Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s Virtual Day hospice service, attending Zoom calls with patients.
“I attended weekly virtual drop-in sessions which allowed me to have enjoyable chats and catch-up time with the lovely group of patients that joined the group,” shares Sarah.
“Once a week I connected and have a chatted with a group of patients and from having and listening to those hour-long conversations it was quite unbelievable to think how everyone that joined had built such genuine rapport over Zoom!”
Sue says she was amazed by how much connection and benefits the Zoom sessions held too.
“The virtual sessions are amazing – sometimes you might have three, six or ten people on a Zoom call and we sit with a cup of coffee for a chat. We chat and we laugh and it is just such great fun.
“A lot of people might think, oh no not Zoom again, but I think it is an amazing thing and one of the good things that has come out of the pandemic. Listening to people they have benefitted massively from these sessions and knowing that they really want them to continue. I am now a great fan of Zoom and the many things it lets you do from the comfort of home. Our patients do all sorts of things – photography, crafts, quizzes – even cooking!”
Volunteering with Sue Ryder has been a valuable experience for Sarah, who hopes to work in healthcare in the future. “Since I’ve been connected with Sue Ryder, I have been able to build my own understanding of care in the community and how I can implement that into my future,” shared Sarah.
“I initially volunteered with the aim of developing my own interpersonal and communication skills, which I continue to do, but alongside this I’ve understood the importance of values such as empathy and compassion between patients and staff in the healthcare environment and this is what I’ll take on board and continue to work on myself in the future.”
After extending her volunteering to become a Befriender, visiting and supporting patients at home, Sue says she gets so much from the experience that she hopes to increase her volunteering in the future too.
“When you volunteer you get so much more back than ever you give in many different ways. You get the knowledge that you are helping to make a difference, something which I found after working commercially for so many years you don’t always feel," she shared. "It is so nice to be able to do something for someone else and I massively enjoy the conversations we have. I love our Friday chats and the quizzes and my befriending visits. I spend so much of that time laughing.
“Volunteering makes you feel more positive about life. If you can make somebody smile, that is worth so much.”
Sarah’s volunteering with the charity has progressed too, and she has now begun a new role as a lunch service volunteer where she serves patients their meals every other Saturday.
“Since helping serve lunches at the hospice, I’ve been able to speak to some wonderful patients who have shared heart-warming messages and gratitude with me, something which will stay with me for a very long time,” shares Sarah. “I feel so grateful to be able to be in a position to make a small but tangible difference to people's lives.”
Sue adds she feels gratitude too.
“Sue Ryder touched me and what they did for me was very special and that is where I put my focus when I volunteer. I want to say thank you to the charity for letting me do this and for trusting me to get involved with people at a point in their life when they are so vulnerable. It is such a privilege.”
Both Sarah and Sue hope by sharing their eye-opening experiences of volunteering at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice they can encourage others to volunteer.
“From the compassionate faces that I’ve been greeted with to the insight that I have gained from talking to patients, online and in person, it has been an eye-opening experience for me. I hope to continue volunteering alongside my future studies,” shares Sarah. “Do consider volunteering with Sue Ryder, it will be one of the greatest things you’ll do, not just for the patients but also for yourself.”
Sue agrees. “People coming together to support a charity by doing their ‘own little bit’ really makes a big difference. The people who give cups of tea or hold hands or pick up the phone to check in to see how someone is doing – it’s all these little things that make Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice the special place that it is.”
Sue Ryder has a number of volunteering opportunities across shops in Gloucestershire and at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. To find out more about opportunities near you visit www.sueryder.org/volunteering
For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/leckhampton
About Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice:
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the only palliative care inpatient unit in Gloucestershire and provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.
Our 16-bed hospice is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil countryside which complements the specialist care and support we give to those with life-limiting conditions and their families.
In addition to our inpatient unit, our virtual day hospice service helps people living with long term conditions and our Hospice at Home service provides care for people in the local community who prefer to receive palliative care at home.
Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and family support team. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.
Whether somebody is dealing with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, we’re there when it matters. Sue Ryder staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.
Sue Ryder - Leckhampton Court Hospice
Gloucestershire's only residential hospice.
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