St Luke’s Hospice provides a vital Befriending service for patients and it is considered one of the most important volunteering roles providing companionship to a patient and their families, during their toughest of times.
The befriending relationship provides the patient with additional social support, helping the patient feel less isolated and more connected. Working alongside St Luke’s social and domestic support teams, Befrienders complement St Luke’s personal care, offering friendship for patients and their families.
The Hospice’s Family Support Befriender Coordinator, Wendy Hind says “We’re making people aware of this vital service in the hope that they reach out to us to volunteer as a Befriender. It is one of our most crucial volunteer roles. Patients can feel very isolated whilst suffering from cancer and other life limiting illnesses. It of course also offers support for family members and carers who are affected by the diagnosis as well.”
Danny Riley has been a befriender with St Luke’s now for almost 6 years, after retiring from working at Crewe Railway, he has helped numerous people throughout this time. His caring nature has always been prominent in his character, however after caring for his mum who had Dementia as well as being diagnosed himself with Testicular Cancer and now on the other side. He knows just how important this service can be to people going through similar tough times.
Danny Riley befriends, one of St Luke’s patients, Arthur Griffiths, 72, who lives in Crewe with his wife. He is diagnosed with Bowel cancer, he is also blind and deaf, and so he finds it difficult to leave the house for essentials like doctor’s appointments. Arthur says, “I look forward to my visits and enjoy my outings with Danny, if Danny did not visit, I would not get out.” “It gives my wife a bit of rest to do her own thing.” Danny regularly takes Arthur to his doctor’s appointments or for a coffee or breakfast.
Danny says that not only does it help Arthur, but it also offers him a lot too. “You get a lot back from being a Befriender. I have made a fantastic friend and as well as listening to Arthur and trying to help him, he also listens to any problems I may have and offers advice, it’s lovely to have a friend.” “You can create a wonderful relationship and it’s fantastic to be able to help Arthur and his wife, even if it’s just an afternoon a week. I love going out with Arthur and creating special memories.”
Whether you have twenty minutes spare a week or two days, it’s the small acts of love that make a huge difference in someone’s life. Enriching both yourselves and a patient’s life as well as gaining friendships, it is truly a rewarding volunteering role. St Luke’s have numerous patients waiting to be matched with their ideal Befriender. Could this be you?
To find out more about how to become a Befriender Volunteer please contact Wendy Hind on 01606 555687 or email email@example.com.