Tom Craig has volunteered at Blythe House during his summer holidays from The University of Manchester, where he is studying a biomedical science degree.
The 22-year-old, who hails from Hayfield but lives in a shared house in Fallowfield, Manchester during term time, says it’s worth volunteering at Blythe House because ‘you can really feel like you are making a difference.’
Here, Tom explains more about his summer of volunteering…
‘I have finished my second year at university this summer, and in a couple of weeks I will start the third and final year of my degree. A lot of my degree involves learning about human biological processes, and how these processes can go wrong in various diseases. However, I have decided to apply to study Medicine as a graduate entry applicant, mainly because I really would like be able to have direct contact with patients, and hopefully be able to combine my interest for science and biology, in a role where being able to talk to and help people is so important.
‘As a volunteer at Blythe House, I have been talking to patients in the Living Well day-care service, in a befriending role; playing a part in trying to make sure that people feel welcome, and helping to serve refreshments. I have really enjoyed it, I have spoken to so many interesting people, and it has been an incredibly inspiring experience. I would definitely say that this was a highlight of my time in the hospice.
‘I have also had the opportunity to shadow the nurses in the hospice, which I am really grateful for. Because my degree at the moment is a science degree, instead of a healthcare, I have not been in a healthcare environment before, and it was really inspiring to be able to experience this. I have also been able to experience some of the complimentary therapies that are on offer in the hospice, and other components of the Living Well service, such as mindfulness and meditation, as well as art therapy, which is offered to patients.
‘I have also been able to spend some time in the information and support centre; there is such large a range of support on offer, and this was also really interesting and inspiring to be able to see the amount of dedication that is given to helping to improve people’s quality of life.
‘I would completely recommend Blythe House to anybody that is considering volunteering here. It has been a really good experience; if my university term was not starting soon I would have loved to stay for longer. It has made me realise that I definitely would like to work in healthcare in the future, but mainly it has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying to feel that you are hopefully making a small difference to somebody’s life. Just being somebody who a patient can talk to about some of the difficulties that they are facing, or simply a chat about a random topic, or helping to clean the teacups at the end of the day, it is worth volunteering here simply because you can really feel like you are making a difference.
‘I am really grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at the hospice, and hopefully I will be able to help out again at some point in the future. I can’t thank the staff and other volunteers enough for the opportunity.’