03 March 2021

Sue Varvel Bursary selects first projects for funding

The Sue Varvel Bursary, set-up by ​our retired former Director of Nursing, Sue Varvel, has awarded funding to its first two projects focusing on engagement in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) and virtual complementary therapies. 

These projects were selected because they demonstrated over-arching patient benefit as well as being sustainable long-term as we continue to develop our support for the local community.

The BAME engagement project is led by Poppy Montgomery-Ward, Patient Services Manager at Grove House and will look at how we interact with these communities to make accessing end-of-life care easier for them and help reduce health inequalities. 

Poppy Montgomery-Ward Patient Services Manager at Grove House
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Poppy said: “It’s great that the BAME engagement project has been awarded funding. This will help us look into how we work with these communities whether as patients, volunteers or colleagues. We’ll be looking to improve the dialogue we have with ethnic communities as well as raise awareness of the work we’re doing within the charity itself.

“Our aim is to improve our understanding of where we are at the moment when it comes to BAME inclusivity and to establish what long-term improvements we need to make.”

The second project awarded funding came about as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michelle Gedling, Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist knew that virtual therapies could be a safe alternative that bring comfort to those with a life-limiting illness and wanted to establish this as a viable alternative to face-to-face sessions.

Michelle Gedling Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist

Michelle said: “Although we are now able to enter people’s homes for therapies where there is a medical need, some of our volunteers have not wanted to do this and looking at virtual therapies has given us an alternative option.

“Reiki is especially transferrable to the virtual world as it requires no one to be hands on or in the room with patients while still bringing that sense of calm and relaxation. We’ve also been able to arrange for patients to take part in our innovative scar therapy where they can be talked through how to massage these areas. 

“Our aim is to expand the offering to other virtual therapies so that even when restrictions are lifted, we will be able to continue to offer accessible, holistic and personalised virtual therapies to patients. This will help maximise the number of sessions our therapists can deliver by reducing travel time.”

We are encouraging those who have experienced our services and have any feedback on these particular focus areas to get in touch using the email communications@renniegrove.org and quoting ‘Sue Varvel Bursary’ in the subject line.