Volunteers have been a vital source of support for Birmingham St Marys over the past 12 months, particularly our ‘army’ of Support at Home volunteers. These dedicated volunteers previously visited patients and their families in their homes once a week, providing a listening ear, a break from caring duties and a chance to get out of the house.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Support at Home team’s roles have changed slightly, but this has not stopped them being a pillar of support for patients, their carers and families. They are always at the end of the phone to provide a lifeline of support and a listening ear.
The single, most amazing quality that all our volunteers possess is kindness.
We know that living with a life-limiting illness can be a lonely experience, and for many people, the impact of Covid restrictions has amplified these feelings of isolation. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a 105% increase in demand from patients. To meet this surge in demand, Birmingham St Mary’s has welcomed and trained 22 new volunteers, providing even more patients with much needed companionship.
Every phone call, gives people the chance to chat about the things that matter to them – whether that’s their family, the weather or what they watched on TV last night. Over time, our wonderful volunteers build genuine relationships and often what starts as a five minute call to say hello, quickly turns into a 45 minute conversation between friends.
I see our role as two-fold. We’re obviously here to provide a service to our patients and their families, but we have a strong team ethos and want to make sure our volunteers feel valued and supported too.
While hailing from a range of different social, professional and ethnic backgrounds and a wide range of ages, every member of the Support at Home team possesses great empathy and a caring nature.
Alison Deere, Support at Home Coordinator says “The single, most amazing quality that all our volunteers possess is kindness. They have a willingness to help and a shared passion to support others to achieve the most fulfilled life they can.”
“Recently one of our volunteers discovered a patient’s neighbour was moving away so they immediately offered to call more frequently – just to check up on them, just as the neighbour would have.”
Without our volunteers, Support at Home simply wouldn’t be able to run.
Alison adds, “I see our role as two-fold. We’re obviously here to provide a service to our patients and their families, but we have a strong team ethos and want to make sure our volunteers feel valued and supported too.
“So we stay connected via weekly team meetings, giving everyone an open forum to share experiences and raise any concerns.”