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Volunteer Visitors Get To Work

This year we have launched an innovative home hospice visiting scheme to provide practical and social support to patients living with life-limiting conditions.

The Hospice Volunteer Visiting project works within our Hospice at Home team to support socially isolated people in their own homes.

The new befriending service helps to reduce isolation for those patients who may not have family and friends nearby, offering companionship and a listening ear, shopping trips, visits to the GP or short outings.

Nancy Spencer, 73, of Darlington, who has been a volunteer at St Teresa’s Hospice for nearly 20 years, said: “When I heard about this new scheme I knew straight away that it was something that I really wanted to be involved in.

“There are so many people out there, living on their own, who may never see anyone from week to week.

“Just giving two hours a week to visit them, sit and have a chat or share a cup of tea, really gives them a boost and makes their day.”

The scheme has already attracted ten volunteers who each receive bespoke training and ongoing support.

Volunteers are asked to give up two hours a week, on a flexible basis, to visit and befriend patients.

Patients referred to the Volunteer Visiting project are assessed for suitability before being matched to a volunteer or signposted to other services if more appropriate.

St Teresa’s Community Hospice team leader Helen Wrigley said: “People with life limiting conditions, who live on their own, really do look forward to seeing a friendly face and having someone to talk to.

“It has been proven that social interaction really does help to improve health and wellbeing and once people are a part of the new scheme it opens doors to gain access to other services available through St Teresa’s or through the local health trust.

“Our community hospice has really grown and changed over the past 30 years and this is yet another way that St Teresa’s Hospice can help people live their lives to the full.”

Volunteer and former foster carer Helen Clyde, 42, of Darlington, added: “As volunteers we get as much out of visiting people at home as they do having us there.

“People may be ill but it’s about giving them a lovely day. We are led by the patient as to what they would like us to do, which may be helping them with their computer, taking them out for a while or just sitting and having a chat.

“It really does give you a sense of worth and it’s so uplifting to see the happiness a simple visit can bring.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact our Volunteer Coordinator Aileen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (01325) 254321.