Providing support and comfort to those who need it

Jo in the Creative Encounters session

Jo Appleton, from Lincoln, is sharing her experience of volunteering to encourage new volunteers to support people with a life-limiting or terminal illness.

Jo joined St Barnabas Hospice as a Spiritual Support Volunteer in 2014 because she “wanted to provide comfort and support and help make a difference.” Jo had previously been a hospital volunteer chaplain.

Jo explains her role, “Spiritual support is open to everyone – of all faiths and none. It’s 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’s 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.”

Jo found the process of becoming a volunteer simple and was in her role shortly after applying.

Jo said: “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.”

Jo volunteers once a week at St Barnabas Day Therapy Centre in Lincoln.

Jo continued: “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’ll 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.”

To find out more about volunteering with St Barnabas Hospice call 01522 518 221 or email volunteering@stbarnabashospice.co.uk

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