John Taylor Hospice: three volunteers share their stories

From welcoming visitors in reception to working behind the scenes and maintaining the grounds, volunteers are an invaluable part of the John Taylor Hospice team.

The Birmingham-based hospice – that provides specialist palliative and end of life care for people across the West Midlands – is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers. The hospice is asking people to give the gift of time and join them in making every moment matter for the hundreds of the people that they care for.

Mark Jones, Community Engagement Officer at John Taylor Hospice, said: “People volunteer with us for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s to gain new skills, to have a chance to meet new people or as an opportunity to try something a bit different. Our volunteers often join us to make a difference to their local community; often they have a personal connection to the hospice and want to give something positive back.

“Volunteers contribute enormously to hospice care and they support us to provide the highest levels of care to patients and their loved ones. We couldn’t do what we do without them.”

“Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you have a lifetime’s work experience to offer us – we’d love to hear from you,” added Mark. “Whatever your reasons for joining us we’ll give you a warm welcome to the John Taylor family and provide you with ongoing training and support.”

Marian’s Story:

Marian Copperthwaite joined John Taylor’s team of volunteers as a barista and serves light refreshments to staff, patients and their families. She was the first volunteer to welcome customers to Moments Café when it opened its doors at the hospice in November 2016.

“I got an email to say that the hospice was looking for people to join their team of baristas,” explained Marian, who lives in Great Barr. “I have years of experience to offer – from working in a school canteen, a university café and in a hotel – so it looked perfect for me.

“I’m really enjoying it here. It’s a lovely bright environment in the café and I get to meet new people. Everyone is so friendly and they always take time to ask you how you are. I can see how much the staff appreciate and care for the volunteers. I’ve always heard about the great work they do at the hospice and I wanted to contribute. I feel that I’m really making a difference.”

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If you would like to join the hospice’s team of baristas then training will be provided. Please forward your CV to Community Engagement Officer Mark Jones at mark.jones1977@nhs.net.

John’s Story:

John Woodall from Kingstanding shares a personal connection with John Taylor Hospice that inspired him to offer his time as a volunteer.

“My wife received excellent care at John Taylor,” said John. “I’d always planned to do volunteering work when I retired so I registered my details with the hospice. They needed someone to help for a couple of hours a week to pick up and drop off some of the day hospice patients. When they called me and asked for my support I was happy to help.

“Many of the day hospice visitors depend upon transport to be able to reach the hospice so giving a few hours of my time a week really does make a difference – to me and to the patients. To anyone thinking of volunteering I’d recommend it. You don’t know unless you give it a try!”

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If you are interested in volunteering as a driver, or would like to know more about the role, please contact Heart of the Hospice Manager Paddy Breen on 0121 465 2000 or email patrick.breen@nhs.net 

Marlene’s Story:

Marlene Leach started volunteering as a host at John Taylor Hospice in 2012. “Initially I was set to volunteer for 100 hours to be recorded as part of the Foundation Degree course I was doing,” said Marlene.

“Once I’d completed my course I stopped making note of the hours and continued to support the hospice once a week. I meet nice people from all walks of life and I find this very rewarding. I feel privileged to be able to share precious moments with patients at the hospice.”

Volunteer hosts work alongside day hospice staff providing a warm welcome to the Heart of the Hospice which is open to visitors four days a week.

Day Hospice Manager Paddy Breen explains: “The day hospice gives visitors the chance to relax and make new friends. They can enjoy a three course meal prepared by our hospice chefs and get involved in activities such as arts and crafts.

“Our volunteers truly are wonderful people. Not only do they support us practically, for example by serving meals and refreshments, they also offer friendship, companionship and laughter.”

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If you’re interested in volunteering as a host, or you would like to know more about the role, please contact Paddy by calling 0121 465 2000 or emailing patrick.breen@nhs.net.  

Volunteering opportunities are regularly added to the John Taylor Hospice website and Facebook page. To find out how you can get involved and read stories shared by current volunteers visit www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk.

Listen to an audio version of this article here:

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