Dear Volunteers: A message from Cate Russell
Happy national Volunteers’ Week 2019! Our volunteers make such a positive difference to Pilgrims Hospices, our patients and their families. Here, Chief Executive Cate Russell shares a big thank you on behalf of the charity.
I wanted to take a moment and celebrate the wonderful work you all do in supporting the amazing phenomenon that is Pilgrims Hospices here in east Kent.
When I look at all that we do and how we impact on the lives of local families at a time when it matters most, it is only achieved through the kindness and generosity of people like you. Turning up come hail or shine, opening our shops, sorting at our warehouses, manning stalls at our events, baking, crafting, counting, stuffing and packing. Sitting on reception, helping behind the scenes in administration, working in the Education centre, supporting our Therapy Centres, driving families so they can attend sessions, volunteer counsellors, spiritual support workers, people helping us with health and safety; testing fire systems and critical recovery plans as well as in food safety and risk management. The list of activities is huge and you all contribute so much and so professionally. Please forgive me if I have not mentioned your particular area of speciality; it is certainly not because it is in any way less of a gift of time than any of those mentioned. You are the backbone of Pilgrims – without you, our families would have a much poorer experience and we would struggle to raise the funds we need and to deliver the level of support and care we are so highly regarded for.
You are the backbone of Pilgrims – without you, our families would have a much poorer experience and we would struggle to raise the funds we need and to deliver the level of support and care we are so highly regarded for.
You will be pleased to know we are continuing to move forward in all the areas I mentioned in last year’s report and we now have ‘Expert Volunteers’ trained and taking on advanced roles in bereavement support with the launch of Stepping Stones and, most recently, Communication Ambassadors. Our vision is of a community where people with a terminal illness are supported. You are that community – and your support is just amazing!
Last year we said that we wanted to be more integrated in the care of people at an earlier stage of their illness. To do this we need to find more innovative ways to engage with our healthcare partners such as local GPs. We have embarked on several pilots with local GP practices close to each of our hospices. We expect to see a shift in the numbers of people coming to see us in our Therapy Centres by the end of the year as GPs start to understand the benefits we can offer. We are also progressing with our plans to refurbish our Thanet hospice and we hope to have a full update on what is happening to the plans for a new Canterbury hospice. I imagine you must think we have been talking about such things for many years. However, we can only go as fast as planning and funding allows. Please be assured everything is progressing well behind the scenes and I would hope to have far more news up on our website by the end of summer.
I would like to give you a huge heartfelt thank you – you make the difference and together we are Pilgrims.
You may also be aware we have just launched a community project to get everyone thinking and making plans to capture what is important to them. None of us know when time may run short and it can bring huge comfort if people have captured their wishes and thoughts. I recently presented the concept to two large local companies and they have both asked for more information on the subject and welcomed the guided thinking the presentation offered. We will always be the place for care in the final days, but we also want to be an organisation that is known for educating and empowering people. You will see a lot more about the THINK program in the coming months as we want to share the concept as widely as possible. You may even wish to participate, so please do look out for updates.
We always get such positive feedback from the families we support. Our community does so much towards funding and this is so often because of your efforts. On behalf of the families, staff and trustees, I would like to give you a huge heartfelt thank you – you make the difference and together we are Pilgrims.
Chief Executive, Pilgrims Hospices
Inspired to become a Pilgrims’ volunteer?
Visit pilgrimshospices.org/volunteer and look out for more stories and information throughout Volunteers’ Week!
Tell us your volunteer story on social media by using the hashtags #PilgrimsLife and #VolunteerVoices.
Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
We’re accredited by REVAMP, a quality mark for Volunteer Involving Organisations developed by Stronger Kent Communities, a leading provider of support for the voluntary sector in Kent.