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Why I volunteer: To comfort those who need it

Author: Leila Hawkins
10 July 2017

Jo Appleton joined St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln as a Spiritual Support Volunteer in 2014, after having previously been a hospital volunteer chaplain. Jo says she joined the hospice because she “wanted to provide comfort and support and help make a difference.” Here she tells us what she loves most about her role.

Spiritual support is open to everyone – of all faiths and none. It is about meeting with the patient, spending time talking about what is important to them and building a relationship. I am there to hold the patient’s hand through their journey, both literally and figuratively.

It is a real privilege to be able to get to know a person, for them to share their problems, to be there for them and to support them through some of their most difficult times.

I was surprised at how easy it was to become a volunteer and how smoothly everything went. After I made my initial enquiry, I was invited for an informal chat with the Lead Chaplain and then a couple of weeks later I was being introduced to the team. 

For those needing support during the settling-in period there is the chance to shadow a more experienced volunteer, to help ease them into the role. We have monthly team meetings providing the opportunity to get to know everyone. Being part of the team feels like being part of a family and I have made many good friends.

The thing I enjoy the most about volunteering is all of the lovely people I meet, from patients and their families to staff and volunteers. It is also wonderful to know that I am making a difference and that I can provide support and comfort to those who need it.

I will always remember how one patient described coming into St Barnabas Day Therapy as his red letter day, because he found it such a lovely experience and it was the only time where he had the opportunity for company and to talk to other people.

For more information visit St Barnabas Hospice

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