A local hospice service hailed by current patients as ‘wonderful’ is recruiting volunteers to support people in the High Peak who have life-limiting illnesses.

Blythe House Hospicecare’s community volunteer programme provides practical and emotional support in the homes of local patients dealing with illnesses including cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

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 on Monday 30th September.

Community volunteers are available to provide support including companionship, transportation and respite breaks for patients, family members and carers. A myriad of tasks have been carried out since the programme began in 2018 including mowing the lawn, clearing a room to receive a hospital bed, and simply just ‘being there’ so a carer could get some rest.

Local patients who have benefited from using the service commented:

  • ‘After three and a half years in my house I was desperate to get out and my volunteer is simply wonderful. We go out to Buxton in the car and have a walk in the park. Sometimes we will go out in the car for coffee somewhere in Chapel. It is freedom and a real treat – it is so lovely to get out!’
  • ‘All of the support I get from Blythe House is wonderful – nothing is too much trouble for them. Without my volunteer I would not be able to get out which I would hate.’

Community volunteers during training (L-R) Helen Wallis, Rachel Dennett, Margaret Charlton

Rachel Dennett has been a community volunteer since February. The Glossop resident explained: ‘My father died last year. In his last few days he was cared for by his local Hospice at Home team. I saw what a massive difference these carers made to both him and the rest of the family. Their support made an awful situation more bearable.

‘I was in a position where my children needed me less, giving me some spare time. I wanted to give something back to the community.’ Consequently, Rachel got in touch with Blythe House.

‘I’ve been involved with one patient so far. My brief was originally to provide some respite for their carer and companionship for the patient. However, in the last month or so this has changed to providing support for the carer while the patient is in hospital. I support them in a number of practical ways such as ironing, changing beds, shopping, cooking meals, along with being someone to talk to. It is a really satisfying and interesting role and I’d thoroughly recommend it. The training sessions were really helpful and often entertaining too!’

To find out more about the community volunteer programme and training – starting on Monday 30th September: