Volunteers desperately needed to keep companionship service running

Appeal launched for new Supporting Hands volunteers.

Volunteers desperately needed to keep companionship service running

Rennie Grove is urgently appealing for volunteers to join a key support programme which is coming under increasing pressure as a result of soaring demand.

Demand on our Supporting Hands service have now reached such a level that we are having to operate a waiting list.

The service was set up in 2017 to offer companionship and practical help to people with life limiting illness. By supporting patients, volunteers help to free up valuable nursing time and offer desperately needed respite to carers looking after loved ones with life-limiting illness.

It has proved so popular that we now need more volunteers to avoid patients having to wait for access to Supporting Hands when time is particularly precious.

Paul Irish, 67, from St Albans, has been volunteering with Supporting Hands since he retired in 2020. He says: “After my retirement I knew I wanted to get involved with volunteering but I didn’t know what. Then I heard about Rennie Grove’s Supporting Hands programme and it really appealed.”

Supporting Hands volunteers, Paul
Paul has been supporting Stephen from Hemel Hempstead since 2020 at a time when lockdowns had left Stephen isolated and a virtual recluse.

“Before Supporting Hands got involved Stephen had reached a dead end. He couldn’t see a way out and had no confidence.”

Paul’s focus is to get Stephen out and about; taking him shopping, for walks, hospital appointments and the occasional trip to the pub. “It took time to build a friendship but now he seems to have got his mojo back and his sense of humour really comes through.”

Nor is the relationship a one-way street. “The volunteer visits have given me purpose as well. It keeps me busy and is beneficial for my mental health. If you have the time to volunteer, you could make a real difference to somebody’s life.”

Where to next?