In partnership with Helen’s Trust, our hospice programme that supports people who are affected by life-limiting illnesses in their own homes, is looking for volunteers across the Derbyshire Dales.

The community volunteer programme was set up by Blythe House Hospicecare in 2018, and is now extending its services to cover Dales towns including Bakewell, Matlock and surrounding villages and hamlets.

The development comes after Blythe House and Helen’s Trust joined forces earlier this year, to bring palliative and end of life care to more patients who wish to be supported in the comfort of their own home.

The community volunteer programme provides practical and emotional support in the homes of local patients, who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s, heart failure and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

During two successful years in the High Peak, the programme has supported over 200 local families, with requests including running errands, household tasks, transportation, and sitting with a patient while their carer takes a break.

Prospective community volunteers attend a comprehensive training programme to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence to provide the best service. The next training opportunity begins in Bakewell in November.

A local woman that the programme supported said: ‘A fantastic service at a very difficult time.  A huge thank you.  It allowed me to care for my husband in the way that we wanted.’

John Baker from Taddington became a community volunteer in February 2019. He said: ‘What could a retired sales manager possibly bring to a community volunteer programme? The answer, and what actually inspires me, is the opportunity to bring some “normality” into patient’s lives, and the lives of their family, by providing simple basic support, also the terrific “buzz” you get by the simple act of a helping hand.

‘To encourage other people like myself to become community volunteers, I would say: remember you’re helping people whilst they are enduring difficult times, which for me is a very fulfilling experience. Just give it a try; you may even surprise yourself.’

If you’re interested in finding out more about this innovative volunteer opportunity and the training provided, please call Vicci Wild or Julie Forrest on: 01298 384116 or email: Vicci.Wild@blythehouse.co.uk