volunteering Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Award Nominated Dementia Community Companions

Some of our volunteers have been short-listed for a prestigious charity award.

The 12-strong team of Dementia Community Companions could become the Volunteer Team of the Year at the 2019 North West Charity Awards.

Each member of the group spends at least two hours a week as a companion to someone with the early stages of dementia.

Their work has earned the admiration of everyone connected with the Hospice and now their selfless dedication has been recognised through a nomination for this award.

We will find out whether they have won at a special ceremony in Manchester on Friday, September 27.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Helena Smith is extremely proud of the project and those who have made it such a success.

Helena said: “It’s a wonderful service, set up as part of our carers’ well-being programme,  and I’m delighted that our committed volunteers have received this deserved recognition.

“It may not be a medical or clinical role, but in its own way is just as important.

“The volunteers’ role is to give the person living with dementia an opportunity to do normal activities in a safe environment.

“Our team enjoy the company of others and are caring and compassionate. As well as resilience, they have a good sense of humour and not all of them have previous experience of working with people with dementia.

“Our volunteers are from all walks of life and I’m proud to say that some manage to work with people with dementia while working full time.”

Helena would like to add to the team if more volunteers feel they can help.

She added: “The role is one of friendship. The volunteer doesn’t provide personal care but concentrates on making a real difference to the life of their companion.

“Knowing that their loved one is in the care of someone who is well-trained and supported, and who wants to be with them, helps the carer to concentrate on their needs and to get back to being themselves again for two or three hours a week.

“The responsibility for care often falls on the husband, wife or children and this led us to our goal of making a real impact on the education and support of the carers, allowing them to look after themselves so  the person with dementia can ‘live well with dementia.’”

* Contact Helena on 01625 664984 or email hsmith@echospice.org.uk or complete the online application form

Guy Rigby’s Award

An East Cheshire Hospice charity shop volunteer, who “lights up the room with his personality” has been given a special award.

Guy Rigby, who has cerebral palsy, has been presented by the Macclesfield-based charity with a Customer Champion Certificate to mark his great commitment and enthusiasm.

His working journey began 18 months ago when Guy, who lives in supported living accommodation, told his carer Sue Selby that he’d like to do something purposeful. Within weeks, Guy was welcomed on a part-time volunteer basis into the Hospice charity shop fellow volunteer Anthea Lee.

Sue says: “Guy began with some pretty basic jobs like stacking and tidying the CDs but soon he developed a great rapport with the customers and now he works mostly on the main till engaging with everyone who comes in.”

“Guy sometimes needs to take it slower than other people, but he’s always been able to light up a room with his personality and the customers in the shop have really taken to him”.

Hospice Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Helena Smith, says Guy is a real asset to the shop.

“He has grown massively in confidence and ability and is so good with people in the shop – both customers and other volunteers,” says Helena.

“Within the Hospice, we constantly work to adjust and adapt to peoples needs and its good that we can also take this into the community. Our charity shops act as little community hubs and Guy’s contribution is a part of that.”

The Hospice has three charity shops – in Thornton Square, Handforth and Wilmslow – which all run mainly with the help of volunteers. Full training is given and anyone who would like to commit some time as a shop volunteer can contact Helena on 01625 664984.