As part of National Storytelling Week, we’re sharing experiences from across the hospice. Our care is only possible thanks to the support of more than 1,200 volunteers. Di, who has been volunteering with us for 31 years, tells us why she gives her time to our hospice.
I became involved with St Catherine’s when my first husband had cancer
“Without St Catherine’s it would have been very difficult to cope and to give him the practical care that he needed. We were supported at home until my husband became less well and came into the hospice. The staff were very good and continued to let me help nurse him. I remember it felt like a warm cloak when we arrived here. Not just for my husband, but for me as his partner, and for our family members as well.
After the help St Catherine’s gave my husband I decided to volunteer
I started volunteering about six months after he died and have been here ever since! In this time, my second husband also came under the care of the hospice, but we were able to look after him at home.
I still enjoy volunteering as much as I did when I started
I’ve been helping in the Living Well Centre for 25 years. It’s not a sad place like people might imagine. Living Well makes things normal for people in exceptional circumstances, whilst they’re facing something that they’ve never faced before.
I’ve always been interested in people and I like hearing their stories and learning what brings them joy. I meet some real characters here and they make my day. We have a lot of laughs and jokes together, and helping them makes me feel like I’m putting a little bit back from what I was given.
The hospice is a place for living until the end
Living Well treats everybody. I give people drinks, do hand massages for them, and help to serve their lunches. I get to know people well and it’s like an extended family.
If people have troubles they often tell me about them. Sometimes they feel they can’t speak to their own families because they’ll upset them, but they can tell me things knowing it won’t go any further. It’s good knowing that chatting to me might make things a bit easier for them.
I gain so much from my volunteering and I feel very fortunate to volunteer here. Helping people to make the time they have left valuable and worthwhile is something special.”