Erin gives back to Dr Kershaws as volunteers made such a difference for her mum

WHEN Erin Bennett’s mum Hazel Reed was cared for at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in 2018, the staff and volunteers did everything they could to make their experience enjoyable and allow them to spend precious time together.

Now, three years on, during National Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7), Erin has signed herself up to help out at the Royton-based Hospice to make a difference to others just like the volunteers did for her mum.

Dr Kershaw’s volunteer Erin and her mum Hazel before she was poorly

Erin, from Chadderton, explained: “When mum was cared for at the Hospice, the volunteers were fantastic. They came in offering us treatments, and with the afternoon tea trolley each day.

“Each volunteer would give up their time to talk to us and they made being at the Hospice feel more normal. The volunteers made a real difference to each day and we would really look forward to them coming round.

“They always went the extra mile, offering family members refreshments too as well as mum.

“I’m volunteering on the morning tea trolley to give something back and help other families as we were helped.”

Erin is just one of the many families who have been impacted by the incredible volunteers at Dr Kershaw’s.

And during National Volunteers’ Week, staff at the Hospice took the opportunity to celebrate the hard work, dedication and commitment of their volunteers, share messages of appreciation on social media from themselves, patients and their families.

Ken Garland, one of the Hospice’s Well-Being Centre patients, has been attending the virtual well-being sessions during the pandemic, which is run by Hospice volunteers.

He said: “I am so grateful to all the volunteers who have helped me by running the virtual sessions. They have made my life much more enjoyable and have broken my week up.

“Giving up their own time to support us is a wonderful thing. Volunteers running the yoga, quiz, relaxation and exercise sessions have been so supportive and the sessions have really helped with my physical and mental health.”

The Hospice’s volunteers clocked up an incredible 18,458 hours in 2020, despite the pandemic bringing on the closure of many key services that volunteers would normally support.

Joanne Sloan, Dr Kershaw’s CEO, commented: “We can’t thank our volunteers enough for their ongoing support and wonderful contribution.

“During such a challenging year it has been both inspiring and reassuring to know we have such a strong, dedicated team of volunteers on board.

“Thank you wholeheartedly to all of you for continuing to give us your time and talent and for being such an important part of our Hospice community.”

The Hospice and the Hospice’s shops have volunteers with a number of different skillsets, supporting with afternoon tea, as receptionists, retail assistants, with administration, and even as a volunteer photographer and videographer.

If you think you have a skill that could support Dr Kershaw’s or you want to find out more about volunteering at the Hospice, contact their Volunteering Team on 0161 624 2727 or email volunteerdept@drkh.org.uk

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice provides free, specialist, end-of-life and palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in Oldham and its surrounding areas in a peaceful and homely environment.

The Hospice opened in 1989 following the conversion and development of a 1930s cottage hospital originally built with a legacy from Dr John Kershaw, a local GP.

The majority of the £3.6m annual budget is supported by fundraising activities, donations, legacies, income from the Hospice shops and revenue from the Hospice lottery.

The Hospice has a team of dedicated clinical staff including doctors, nurses, health care assistants and care givers who support patients in the Hospice’s In-Patient Unit and Well-being Centre (day patient facility), along with supporting patients in the community through their Hospice at Home service and Caring Hands, the Hospice’s domiciliary service.

To find out more about Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, visit www.drkh.org.uk or call the Hospice on 0161 624 2727.

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