Befriending scheme seeks good neighbours

Training session by the Hospice of St Francis
Training session by the Hospice of St Francis

Could you volunteer a little of your time each week to visit someone with a terminal illness who’s living alone?

The Hospice of St Francis, which cares for patients with a life-limiting illness from Berkhamsted and beyond, has launched a new Herts Neighbours Network, and urgently needs volunteers to offer support for isolated patients living at home.

Volunteers will be carefully matched to a specific individual according to location, interests and personality and will be expected to visit once a week for a few hours to provide help such as light housework, shopping and companionship.

Prospective volunteers are required to complete training and the next session takes place on Monday and Tuesday, September 7 and 8, in Hemel Hempstead.

Mum-of-two Michelle Baker, from Hemel, who has already signed up as a volunteer with the Herts Neighbours Network, said: “The idea of volunteering to help someone in their own home really appealed to me.

“I have some time to give now my children are a bit older and wanted to help the hospice in some way.

“The role’s perfect as it’s hands-on, but not in a clinical way. It’s local so I don’t have to travel far, not too time intensive and most of all will hopefully make a real difference to someone living at home with a terminal illness.

“I’ve already had two days of training, which was really engaging and comprehensive, and am in the process of being matched up to a person.

“I’m extremely keen to get started. My hope is that I can provide effective support to someone, by showing empathy towards their situation through offering a listening ear, or by way of other practical support in and around their home.”

The hospice is also looking for reliable volunteers for its busy Berkhamsted charity shop.

Anyone interested in either of the above roles should contact the voluntary services team on 01442 869550.