Barnsley Hospice launches appeal for volunteers

22 April 2013

New volunteers are being sought to help provide care for patients staying at Barnsley Hospice.  

The hospice is urgently seeking dedicated people to work as auxiliary nurse support volunteers in its Inpatient Unit (IPU) plus volunteers for the unit’s kitchen.

Patients are admitted to IPU for a variety of reasons including help with managing pain and other symptoms as well as care during the last few days of their life.

Bev Hewitt, the hospice’s IPU manager, said:  “Patients don’t pay for care from the hospice but it costs over £9,000 a day to provide it, so our fantastic volunteers play an absolutely crucial role in all areas including IPU.

“Volunteers don’t need to be medically trained or have any special experience for the auxiliary nurse support as training will be given, but they do need to be committed and reliable. We also very much need new kitchen volunteers. Our volunteers tell us that, in return, the rewards are huge.”

The IPU has ten rooms and is staffed around the clock, every day of the year, by specialist nurses who are part of a team of professionals. Both patients and their loved-ones have access to a range of services.

Auxiliary nurse support volunteers carry out a range of jobs. These include helping to wash and move patients, sitting with them or reading to them, greeting visitors, and changing beds.

Current volunteer Sam Prince, aged 19, who is on a gap year before going to medical school, took up the role two years ago and spends every Saturday morning at the hospice, at Gawber. Sam, from Cudworth, decided he wanted to donate his time after initially doing a school work experience placement as a fund-raiser.

He said as well as giving him valuable experience for his future career it was personally “very, very rewarding”. 

He commented:  “There is a big misconception that people only go in hospices to pass away and that isn’t true. It’s a nice, positive environment and I really enjoy the early morning shift because it’s busy and you feel part of it.

“Every time you leave, you have a massive sense of accomplishment because you’re making a different to people’s lives.”

The hospice has to raise £2 million annually in addition to its £1.6m NHS grant to stay open.

More than 400 volunteers carry out all manner of roles at the hospice, from complementary therapy to gardening, as well as working in the charity’s shops around the borough. Last year volunteers gave a total of 57,134 hours.

Managers are looking to recruit auxiliary nurse support volunteers for morning, afternoon and early evening session times, seven days a week. The hours are from 7am to 11am, 1pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8.30pm respectively. In particular, volunteers are needed for the two earlier shifts from Monday to Friday.

Kitchen volunteers, who serve meals and refreshments for patients and families, are needed for lunch and dinner sessions from noon to 2pm and 4.30pm to 6pm, again seven days a week. 

In both cases, volunteers are asked to commit to at least one session per week. Because it costs the hospice to carry out required recruitment procedures and provide training, it is important that volunteers see it as a long-term commitment.  Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should get in touch with volunteer services manager Barbara Cronin for an initial chat.

Ring Barbara on 01226 323620, email or visit

For further information about Barnsley Hospice, visit email or call 01226 244244.


Sam Prince can be contacted on 07865 493850.

Media contact at the hospice for more information on this story is Laura Conrad on 07787 408257 or email

Additional media contacts: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at  or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

Barnsley Hospice’s main aim is to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients while supporting their relatives and friends during the period of illness and bereavement. 

Its services include specialist pain and symptom management, complementary therapies, counselling and support groups. There is also a service for people who have lymphoedema – a build-up of fluid in the body which causes swelling.  It can be a side effect of cancer or radiotherapy but it can affect people who do not have cancer.


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