We’re thrilled that Dennis Murray, one of our volunteer counsellors, scooped the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Crawley Community Awards earlier this month.
Dennis has volunteered with us since 2013 and is one of our few male counsellors. His volunteering makes a huge difference to our patients and people in our wider community.
In his time volunteering Dennis has given more than 1,000 hours of his time to our hospice. That’s equal to 136 working days!
Already a qualified counsellor when he started volunteering with us, Dennis has since undertaken additional training to gain supervision qualifications. Dennis works with our clients and also leads four sessions a week at the Birchwood bereavement counselling service, which we provide, in collaboration with the Birchwood Medical Centre. Last year alone he provided 188 sessions for more than 29 patients. The service Dennis allows us to provide at Birchwood is much appreciated and in a recent CQC inspection at Birchwood, CQC inspectors noted that the Bereavement Services were an excellent service for local patients.
As well as working with people we care for and in the wider local community, Dennis voluntarily runs two of our hospice supervision groups. These are vital to make sure that all our volunteer counsellors, placement students and listeners get the right support themselves so they can continue to provide compassionate care to others.
Dennis also facilitates our monthly Turn Up To Talk group, a group specifically for male carers. This group was started following feedback that male carers would feel more comfortable attending a men’s only group at our hospice. It’s a group which attendees have benefitted greatly from.
One attendee said, “I’ve been coming to TUTT (Turn Up to Talk group) since its conception. My partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer but TUTT makes me realise I’m not alone. I agree with the concept that men don’t talk. Since coming to TUTT Dennis has encouraged me to share how I’m feeling. As men, we often say we can handle things, but the truth is, sometimes we can’t. I’ve got nothing but admiration for Dennis and St Catherine’s for running the group. All of us who attend are going through the difficulty of our beloved’s dying but we often come out of our meeting feeling a bit stronger.”
On behalf of us all, Congratulations Dennis and thank you for all that you do to support our hospice and the people we care for.