Our community volunteer programme, described as ‘gentle, invaluable and amazing,’ is seeking local people who would like to support patients in the comfort of their own home.

The service provides practical and emotional support in the homes of local patients who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, COPD, heart failure and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

After completing comprehensive training, community volunteers are able to provide help and support to patients and their families including respite breaks, companionship, light household chores and gardening. The current team of 22 volunteers donated over 400 hours of support between October and December 2019.

Alison Dronfield-Boyd (left) from Buxton became a community volunteer in June last year after retiring early. She has been offering help to a local patient who has motor neurone disease, and said: ‘I support with a variety of things including improving accessibility to make life easier, for example, moving items in the kitchen to a lower level. I have ironed clothes, as this is something that the individual can no longer carry out. I have also walked the dog and carried out gardening tasks. The main thing during all this is the companionship; we chat and enjoy each other’s company.

‘The community volunteer programme is a massive support to people who need it and is extremely personally rewarding. It’s the best thing I have ever done with my time; I would say that even the smallest amount of time that can be provided is very much appreciated.’

A volunteer supports Bill with respite care at his home in Chapel-en-le-Frith so that his wife of over 60 years, Marina is able to go out. She said: ‘Jon comes round for two hours each week to chat to Bill and keep him company whilst I go shopping or meet up with a friend. People don’t realise how hard it is to not be able to go out when you want, or need to. Before the community volunteer programme, I very much relied on my daughters who are wonderful but only come round when they can, as they are both at work. With booking in scheduled visits from Jon, I have something to look forward to each week, and know that Bill is so well cared for when I am gone. We are so grateful to Jon for giving up his time to support us.’

To find out more about community volunteering at Blythe House, including a new training programme due to get underway next month, you can: