‘It’s been an amazing opportunity to shadow someone in my chosen career, and to help people like my Dad to make their everyday lives better.’

Becky Howes volunteered with our physiotherapy and occupational therapy team between January and June 2022, on work placement during her time at college studying health and social care.

Becky (left) with Miriam, OT

Becky, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, will find out her college results in the next few weeks and is hoping to study occupational therapy (OT) at university in Sheffield from September.

Mick, Becky’s dad, received care and support from the hospice when he was in remission from larynx cancer (affecting the voice box) back in 2015.

Becky explained: ‘I have been volunteering with Miriam, the hospice’s OT, and Angela, physiotherapist, for one day per week since January 2022. As part of my college studies, I needed to undertake a work placement and wanted to gain more experience of the career that I will hopefully be going into.

‘I was originally placed in a primary school but I didn’t enjoy it very much as I didn’t feel I was getting a lot of out of it for my future. My Mum suggested I get in touch with Blythe House, so I contacted Julie, the hospice volunteer manager, and explained my circumstances. Julie said that Miriam and Angela would definitely be able to support me.

‘I have been shadowing Miriam and Angela with their work in the hospice including taking part in the fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness group. I have also headed out on home visits with the team. I have watched Angela give patients different exercises to support their fitness and strength, and Miriam has given advice and sourced equipment for patients who need extra support to get around their home more easily, for example stair lifts and hand rails.

‘Miriam and Angela also set me a task to create a physio and OT worksheet for them to utilise with patients. They gave me an example of what they were looking for, and I created an original document for Blythe House. They will now be able to use this to go through with patients to ensure they’re setting goals and reaching milestones during their physio and OT programmes.

‘It has been a great experience to see “behind the scenes” and provide a good insight into what I’ll be studying at university. It has been very eye-opening to see what goes on behind closed doors, and how Miriam and Angela are able to support patients who have a life-limiting illness. It has been an amazing opportunity to shadow someone in my chosen career, and to help people like my Dad to make their everyday lives better.’

Find out more about volunteering at Blythe House and Helen’s Trust to support your studies, or learn more about a career you might be interested in pursuing, email: volunteering@blythehouse.co.uk or visit our volunteer webpage.