A scheme that empowers volunteers to run practical support in their community for people with life-shortening illness is being piloted in Haverhill.
The innovative Hospice Neighbours Scheme aims to provide simple but compassionate support via a group of trained volunteers that will make a big difference to individuals and their families living with dying.
Under the scheme, simple tasks could include walking the dog, collecting a prescription, mowing the lawn, going to the post office or just having a chat over a cup of tea.
Now St Nicholas Hospice Care is looking for a Haverhill Volunteer Coordinator to run the scheme in the community.
Emma Page, Voluntary Services Manager, said: “We have always been very fortunate with the support the Hospice receives from the Haverhill area and this is one of the reasons why we chose the town for the pilot scheme.
“The tasks that volunteers could be doing are relatively simple, but they make a massive difference to people with life-shortening illnesses who are perhaps unable to walk their dog or do a little gardening.
“By stripping away smaller, but still important, household tasks, it will allow families to do what they want to do the most - spend time with and care for their loved ones at home.”
Alongside the coordinator, the Hospice is also seeking volunteers to take part in the scheme and has already received interest from community groups, individuals and schools in the area.
The role of the Volunteer Coordinator includes overseeing the pilot project in the community by utilising their local knowledge and matching the needs of people to the skills and availability of the volunteer team.
Emma added: “A flexible commitment will be needed from the coordinators as during the set up stage it is anticipated we will ask for more of their time than when the scheme is up and running. “The Hospice will provide all the training, skills and IT equipment needed and fully support the coordinator all the way.”
The scheme was made possible after a grant from NHS Suffolk. If the Haverhill pilot scheme is successful, it is envisaged that the Hospice Neighbours Scheme would be run throughout the charity’s West Suffolk and Thetford catchment area.
It is estimated that half of the 250 patients currently on the Hospice caseload would benefit from the scheme.
If you would like a volunteer application pack or an informal chat please contact Emma Page, Voluntary Services Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01284 715589.