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Bishop lends encouragement to carers and volunteers

Posted on 12 February 2013

The Bishop of Canterbury and Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott spent time with patients, carers and volunteers at Canterbury’s Pilgrims Hospice this week as part of a Deanery visit.

Bishop Trevor began by listening to the concerns and experiences of local people who currently attend the hospice support group ‘Caring with Confidence’, run for people caring for relatives with life-limiting illness.

He extolled the virtues of the work done at the hospice, saying: “The hospice is not a place of fear, it’s a place of support. If you know you’re not alone that lifts the weight of it all. One thing people discover about the hospice is how much life there is here, and how much laughter. Yes there are some very sad stories, but there is more to it than that.”

These sentiments were echoed by members of the group, who spoke of the comfort the hospice offers. Jackie Cross cares for her mother and regularly attends the Caring with Confidence group, which is free of charge and run in blocks of six week sessions.

“The love and support that emanates from the hospice is wonderful. By coming here I can off-load to the group, find out information and get reassurance,” she explained.

“Often coming here is my only break. The hospice does a fantastic job for carers, we’d be lost without that support.”

Hospice Chaplain Reverend Liz Chapman said “It is important that the hospice is seen as part of the wider community and visits like Bishop Trevor’s help us to break down some of the barriers and make our work a little more visible.”

Bishop Trevor also spent time speaking to two of the Chaplaincy volunteers, who offer emotional and spiritual support to patients, families and carers where it’s needed.

Lisa Sanders and Elizabeth Turner have volunteered for almost a year now, after attending a lay chaplaincy training course offered through the local hospital. They both come to the hospice once a week to support patients and families.

“I find volunteering rewarding, it makes me feel good about myself if I can come and help others. Lots of people seem to feel happier once they’ve been here, they can talk about things that worry them that they may not be able to tell their close family.”

Some of the patients Lisa and Elizabeth work with have been in the hospice since they started volunteering: “You build nice friendships with them. It can be hard thinking they are ill but this is such a warm and caring place you come away knowing the patients are in the best possible hands.”


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