Barnsley Hospice appeals for more volunteer drivers
24 October 2012
Barnsley Hospice urgently needs to recruit more volunteer drivers to make sure patients can use its services.
There are currently nine drivers on the team, but up to six new volunteers are needed because the hospice is caring for an increasing number of people with life-threatening illnesses.
If drivers don’t come forward then some patients may have no means of attending services such as day care, outpatient clinics, counselling and support groups.
Patients do not pay for care from the hospice but it costs over £9,000 a day to provide it, so volunteers play a vital role. Last year volunteers gave 58,528 hours.
Volunteer services manager Barbara Cronin said: “We’ve had a couple of long-serving volunteer drivers retire which has reduced numbers, yet we have more patients and services than ever before.
“Volunteers drive patients to and from their own homes and we really can’t do without them. They’re hugely important to the day to day running of the hospice as some patients have no other way of getting here.”
Retired racecourse bookmaker Pat Ryan, aged 65, has been a volunteer driver for four years. He signed up as a way of giving something back to the hospice following the death of his wife Denise, 60, of breast cancer, in 2008. Denise attended the hospice’s Limes Support and Therapy Centre for two years before she died and greatly valued support from other people in the same position as her.
Pat, of Birdwell and a driver for 45 years, clocks up 60 to 80 miles a week for the hospice in his Toyota and describes the voluntary work as giving him “a lift”.
He said: “I try to get to know my patients a bit and we look forward to seeing each other every week. Their outlook on life is very inspiring. I really would encourage other people to volunteer as you get so much out of it.”
Volunteer drivers must have their own car but are paid mileage. People who are flexible in the days or hours they can volunteer are particularly needed but drivers who are, for example, only available on one day a week are still urged to get in touch.
More than 400 volunteers carry out all manner of roles at the hospice, from complementary therapy to gardening and fundraising.
The hospice, at Gawber, has ten beds for inpatient care and the Limes is open every day during the week. Many other 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.
The hospice receives £1.6m from the NHS each year, but has to raise an additional £2m to stay open.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer driver should get in touch with Barbara for an initial chat.
Ring Barbara on 01226 323620, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.barnsleyhospice.org
NOTE TO EDITORS
Attached picture shows volunteer driver Pat Ryan.
Media contact at the hospice for more information on this story is Laura Conrad on 01226 244 244 (ext 263) or 07787 408257 or email email@example.com
Alternatively, ring Barbara Cronin on 01226 323613 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional media contacts: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at email@example.com or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org