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Charity is recruiting trainers for budding hospice patient biographers

Author: Leila Hawkins
15 August 2017

The Hospice Biographers charity is recruiting trainers to teach volunteer journalists to become audio biographers at hospices across the UK.

The Hospice Biographers is a new charity that records the life stories of terminally ill patients at around 200 hospices. All hospice patients are offered this service free of charge. It became a registered charity in October last year. 

Trainers will have the opportunity to work up to 10 days per year in 2018, up to 14 days per year in 2019, and potentially longer as the training programme is set to run for five years.

The two day training course has been devised by the charity's Trustee in charge of training Lorraine Crossland, with the help of North London Hospice. Trainee journalists will be paid £250 a day plus expenses, will be able to work part time, and at any hospice in the UK.

Barbara Altounyan is the CEO & Founder of The Hospice Biographers. She says:

“It is going to be an exciting job. Our trainers will teach volunteer journalists  a wide range of issues, including  privacy, interviewing skills, emotional resilience, loss and bereavement, compliance, use of audio equipment, the art of listening, confidentiality, boundaries, and data protection, plus lashings of good old-fashioned common sense and empathy, which will of course be required and encouraged.”

“The trainers will teach volunteers who have been carefully selected by each participating hospice, mainly freelance journalists whom they already know and trust, or else in-house staff nurses or communications personnel.”

“Trainers will also teach volunteers how to use our high spec broadcast quality audio recording equipment. Our new recorders do look kind of weird though.” 

“They have been built specially for us to meet forthcoming European-wide General Data Protection Regulations.  We think they look weird because they look so blobby and old-fashioned, like a Blue Peter's toy phone circa the 1980's. Unsophisticated might just be trendy again, who knows.”

“The audio recorders are comparatively large, all the buttons on it are outsized and brightly coloured, with unmissable idiot-proof clues for everyday use such as "record, pause, play and rewind" instructions written on them.”

“We have already conducted our training pilot at Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge thanks to CEO Stevan Jackson earlier this year. Now it is time to spread our wings and go nationwide.” 

The job is open to all hospice staff and volunteers. Training begins in October.  

For more information visit The Hospice Biographers or email Barbara Altounyan

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