28 October 2016

Seeking volunteers for Family Support Services

Rennie Grove Hospice Care is recruiting to three different volunteer roles as part of itscounsellors plans to expand the charity’s Family Support Services. 

Cathy Sosoli, Family Support Services Lead, explains: “All three roles involve supporting patients and carers in their own homes as well as at Grove House.  We’re looking for volunteer listeners: empathic and caring people who are willing to learn active and supportive listening skills for adult and children’s support. We also need more counsellors and are seeking people with a Level 4 Counselling qualification and membership of a governing body such as BACP.  We’re also keen to recruit trained therapists to offer complementary therapy treatments.”

Chris Kennedy is a volunteer complementary therapist with Rennie Grove. She says:

“My motivation is my nursing background and the fact that I want to make a difference to someone whose life and health is being challenged.  Complementary therapies can really improve quality of life and when you can see that you’ve made a difference, it’s incredibly rewarding.  We can’t cure people but if we can make it better, even in the smallest way, we’ve achieved something.  With the NHS under such pressure and as people live longer with multiple illnesses, encouraging people to manage their own health has to be the way forward, and complementary therapy has a big part to play in this.”

David Coles is now a volunteer listener for the charity, having been a staunch supporter of Rennie Grove since the charity cared for his wife, Anne, over 10 years ago, granting her wish of being able to spend her final days at home with David by her side.  He explains:

“When I applied to join the Family Support Team, I can honestly say that I was amazed to be taken on.  I didn’t have any experience of anything like this – and I didn’t have much confidence either.  What I’ve learned since then, is that these were not the important qualities needed for this role: being able to listen to people without interrupting and being able to keep a confidence is what matters.  People can say things to you that they can’t say to their families and friends and that is often a visible relief for them. 

May Crawford is also a volunteer listener, providing support for bereaved people either in their own homes or at Grove House.  She says:

“After seven years in the role I can see that encouraging people to talk about their feelings really does help. I love the fact that we are able to say to people that we are always here for them as they go through their grieving journey and that even if we haven’t seen someone for a number of years, they can always come back to talk to us if they start struggling again.”

Rachel Capp is a trainee counsellor with Rennie Grove, having previously been a volunteer listener for the charity, and is now studying for a diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling: She says:

“Many of our patients and their family members wouldn’t normally seek help from a counsellor, even though their needs are great, so the service is really valuable for them.  I would encourage anyone who is a qualified counsellor to consider giving a few hours of their time each week to ensure this vital service continues. It gives a great opportunity to extend professional experience and is so rewarding on a personal level.

“Perhaps most importantly, if we weren’t able to offer support to patients and their family members or carers it would be so much more difficult for patients to make the choice to stay at home in the place they love with the people they love until the end.  By offering this service patients can make this choice safe in the knowledge that their loved ones will receive the support they need both during illness and through bereavement.”

Rennie Grove’s Family Support team is facing an influx of calls for help due to increasing referrals and evolving needs.  “As patients live longer, often with multiple conditions and complex needs, they and their family need support for longer too,” explains Cathy, “and there is no way we could afford to pay staff to fulfil all listening, counselling and bereavement support needs, nor could we fund all the complementary therapy treatments that help reduce anxiety, stress and provide physical relief as well as relaxation for patients and cares alike.”

If you meet the above criteria, have time to give, are flexible and able to travel, then please get in touch at volunteer@renniegrove.org or 01442 890222. Hear more from Chris, David, May and Rachel at www.renniegrove.org/fssrecruitment