04 January 2022

Could you change lives locally?

We are recruiting to our Supporting Hands scheme, a volunteer-led service providing companionship, respite and practical help for patients and families in their own homes.

Alison Raynor, Supporting Hands Coordinator, explains: “We’ve seen a spike in referrals to this service, both from patients attending our Living Well sessions at Grove House and from hospice at home nurses, who see first-hand how patients and families could benefit from some extra help.”

A Supporting Hands volunteer provides support and companionship to patients and their families_for web

Supporting Hands volunteers are trained and supported to offer between two and four hours’ support each week. Alison explains: “We’ll match each volunteer to a family and arrange a block of six visits, helping with anything from light housework to dog walking, collecting prescriptions or simply having a chat or a game of cards with a patient while their carer pops to the shops or catches up on sleep.

“Each match is based on a patient’s current needs, and of course these can change quickly when you’re dealing with life-limiting illness. So the main thing we ask of our volunteers is that they can be flexible. You don’t need any prior experience; you just need to be a good listener with the time and motivation to make a difference.”

Supporting Hands complements our mission to help patients live well and be cared for where they choose. “Families can be exhausted, on the verge of breakdown and desperate for respite support,” says Alison. “Your two hours a week could change that.”

As well as playing a vital part in helping keep families together at home, Supporting Hands volunteers can be the eyes and ears of the nursing teams. “Not only do they free up nurses and healthcare assistants to provide more complex care to more people,” says Alison, “but they can also give valuable feedback to nurses so they can respond quickly to pre-empt problems and keep patients safe and comfortable.”

Classed as essential workers, Supporting Hands volunteers will continue to help combat social isolation in the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape too.

Interested? We are running mandatory training sessions for new Supporting Hands volunteers in February. Call the volunteering team on 01442 507321 or 01727 731020 or email volunteer@renniegrove.org to find out more.