Army of vol­un­teers are hospice lifeblood

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

HE­LENA Smith’s first im­pres­sions of East Cheshire Hospice could not have been bet­ter.

The char­ity’s new vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor was im­me­di­ately struck by the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ded­i­ca­tion of staff and vol­un­teers.

Vol­un­teers are cru­cial to the daily op­er­a­tion of the hospice, and there is not a depart­ment that does not de­pend on their com­mit­ment.

The count­less tasks in­clude gen­eral ward du­ties, help with day care ac­tiv­i­ties in the Sun­flower Cen­tre, fundrais­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tion, com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies, flower ar­rang­ing and work­ing in its two char­ity shops.

The value vol­un­teers bring to the hospice would ex­ceed £188,000 an­nu­ally if trans­lated into staff hours. That is just in the hospice com­plex it­self and ex­cludes fundrais­ers, cake bak­ers, hand­i­craft helpers and sup­port groups etc.

The hospice will shortly also ex­tend its de­men­tia buddy pro­gramme, a ser­vice which pro­vides de­men­tia pa­tients with trained vol­un­teer as­sis­tance, and will soon be re­cruit­ing more vol­un­teers.

He­lena’s ex­pe­ri­ence in vol­un­teer­ing with the Na­tional Trust is vi­tal in en­sur­ing the army of vol­un­teers, who are the lifeblood of the hospice, con­tinue to play a key part in its day-to-day run­ning.

He­lena, who joined the Hospice last month from Lyme Park, said: “Ev­ery sin­gle depart­ment has vol­un­teers who help their teams run ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively and that sup­port then frees up staff to use their re­source to the most ad­van­tage.

“The vol­un­teer set-up here is ex­cel­lent and I quickly dis­cov­ered it’s an ex­tremely well-run ser­vice and very highly re­garded.

“Some vol­un­teers have been here since be­fore most of the staff and might still be here af­ter staff have left.

“They’ve got a lot of years un­der their belt and their loy­alty and com­mit­ment is hugely ap­pre­ci­ated.

“What also knocked me side­ways is the ded­i­ca­tion of staff and their mo­ti­va­tion is in­cred­i­bly strong. They also vol­un­teer for the hospice in their spare time and I’m for­tu­nate to have such amaz­ing col­leagues, both paid and vol­un­tary.”

She and hus­band Neil have two sons Arthur 9, and Stan­ley, 7, who at­tend Whirley Pri­mary School where He­lena is a gov­er­nor.

She was also trea­surer and a trustee at Whirley pre-school. “I’ve a strong con­nec­tion with vol­un­teer­ing - it kept me sane when the boys were tiny and gave me some­thing to fo­cus on.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in be­com­ing a vol­un­teer for the Hospice can con­tact He­lena on 01625 610364 or email hsmith@ echos­pice.org.uk.

●» Vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor He­lena Smith

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