Barnsley Hospice welcomes 400th volunteer
19 March 2012
The number of volunteers at Barnsley Hospice has reached 400, but more people are needed to help out.
Volunteers carry out all manner of vital roles at the hospice, from complementary therapy to gardening, driving and fundraising.
There are currently vacancies which urgently need to be filled and anyone who can give their time should be able to find a role to suit them.
Barnsley Hospice, at Gawber, has ten beds for inpatient care and provides day care in its Limes Unit. Care is free for anyone in Barnsley with a life-threatening condition, not just cancer patients, and is also available in patients’ own homes. In addition, the hospice runs many other support services.
Volunteer services manager Barbara Cronin said volunteers gave 57,134 hours to the hospice last year.
She said: “We’ve got a fantastic team of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who put their hearts into working for the hospice, and whose contribution enables it to stay open.
“Volunteers work directly with patients and their families and behind the scenes, or in one of our nine charity shops around the borough.
“Some people regularly give many hours of their time and others just help out occasionally, but all play a valuable role. In return, they have the satisfaction of knowing they are giving something to a committed organisation that’s here to support the people of Barnsley at a time in their lives when they most need it.”
Mavis Clayton, 66, a retired shop assistant from Higham, volunteers in the hospice’s Eldon Street shop five days a week. Her husband Barry sadly died in a hospice in 1999 and she wanted to give something back.
She said: “Working in the shop gives me a reason to get up in the morning and I really enjoy meeting customers and working with the rest of the volunteers. We’re like a family and have lots of laughs.
“There’s always something to do, from till work to steaming clothes or sorting books, and you know that what you’re doing is worthwhile.”
Former headteacher and education consultant Sue Stokes, 60, of Royston, is involved in training and fund-raising at the hospice.
She said: “Initially for me it was about maintaining my self-worth following retirement, but I quickly felt part of the circle of support at the hospice. I like to know that what I’ve done today makes a difference to patients and their loved ones.
“Part of my role is giving talks about the hospice to make people aware of the range of services offered here. It’s so much more than a place for people to come to die.”
Hospice services include specialist pain and symptom management, complementary therapies, counselling and support groups as well as a service for people who have lymphoedema – a build-up of fluid in the body which causes swelling and can be a side effect of cancer or radiotherapy.
It costs over £8,000 a day to run the hospice, which first opened its door on a smaller scale 18 years ago. The hospice receives £1.6m from the NHS each year, but has to raise an additional £1.9m to stay open.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering should get in touch for an initial chat. Barbara is especially keen to expand the team of volunteer drivers, with their own cars, who can transport patients to and from Gawber. Mileage is paid.
Barbara also particularly wants to hear from anyone interested in helping to staff reception at evenings and weekends and a volunteer with computer skills to help out with fundraising. Training is given for all roles.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Photograph of volunteers Mavis Clayton and Sue Stokes is available from Deborah Wain or Kate Betts.