Make a Real Difference to Someone


“Every time you visit them, patients will tell you how amazing it is. They say ‘you don’t know how much difference it makes’ and I think that’s true. It’s the simple things, like sitting with someone and listening to them. It’s definitely a worthwhile thing to do; you get more back than anything you give.”

These words from Debby, one of Phyllis Tuckwell’s Home Support (HS) volunteers, summarise the benefits that both patients and volunteers get from this free service. Being seriously ill can cause anxiety and stress, and can be lonely too. By becoming a Phyllis Tuckwell volunteer, you can make a real difference to someone’s life, providing practical and emotional support and companionship at a difficult time.

Phyllis Tuckwell provides supportive and end of life care for local patients and families who are living with an advanced or terminal illness, such as cancer, and its volunteers help in all aspects of its care. Its Home Support volunteers visit patients at home once a week, taking them out shopping or to medical appointments, going on outings with them, or simply sitting and listening to them talk, over a cup of tea. It may just be a few hours, but their presence and support is invaluable, and it also allows patients’ carers to have a few hours’ break. As well as helping others, Phyllis Tuckwell’s volunteers also enjoy the sense of purpose and of giving back to the community. They often say that they benefit from it just as much as the patients do!

Phyllis Tuckwell offers initial and ongoing training and guidance to all of its Home Support volunteers. Its training sessions for new volunteers will take place over five Saturdays across January and February.

Home Support is just one of the areas in which Phyllis Tuckwell’s volunteers help out. Others drive patients to and from the Hospice or Beacon Centre to attend appointments and therapy groups, help on reception, serve teas or help customers in Phyllis Tuckwell’s retail shops, while those who are qualified nurses, therapists or counsellors may become directly involved in providing clinical care. If you enjoy the company of others and like the idea of making a real difference to someone’s life, perhaps a volunteering role could be the thing for you?

“Our volunteers come from all walks of life,” says Julia Morpeth, Voluntary Services Manager at Phyllis Tuckwell. “Many are therapists, counsellors or healthcare professionals who want to give something back to the community. Some are students hoping for a career in healthcare and in need of experience, or individuals who want to get back into work after having had some time off. Others volunteer in memory of a loved one or simply to make friends and do something worthwhile. We give them the support they need to develop their skills, take on fulfilling roles and really feel that they are making a difference.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Phyllis Tuckwell volunteer, please contact its Voluntary Services team on 01252 729400 or email voluntary.services@pth.org.uk.

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