No Day is ever the same for Day Hospice volunteer Karen.
“I’ve always felt very much part of the team and the Wellbeing day is a wonderful session to be part of.”
Karen Puzey is one of the hundreds of volunteers in the St Giles team. She’s a volunteer in the day hospice, where she works alongside staff and volunteers to help run the Wellbeing day, which takes place every Tuesday.
Karen started volunteering after she became very ill with pneumonia and when she’d recovered, she knew it was time for a change.
“A friend of mine had been cared for by the hospice’s lymphoedema team a long time ago, so I thought I might try there,” she said.
“But the opportunity came up at in the day hospice five years ago and although I didn’t know anything about what they did, I decided to go for it.”
“Initially I was really worried as I thought it would be full of people talking about their illnesses, but it’s not like that at all,” she said.
“The Wellbeing day is about supporting people to live a good life, not dwelling on their diagnosis.”
The Wellbeing day operates on a drop in basis and is open to both people who have already completed a 12 week programme in day hospice and those who want to find out more about available support.
“Anyone new will be welcomed by a nurse who will take them through an assessment, explain what the day is all about and talk about the support the hospice offers,” said Karen.
“There can be a fear about hospice because of the association with end of life and the session with the nurse can really help to reduce that, along with seeing just how much people enjoy being here.
“We take new people under our wing and show them round, because there’s so much to get involved in, whether that’s crafts, complementary therapy, relaxation, yoga or talks.
“Sometimes people just want to come along and have a chat and it is a really lovely, relaxed, social atmosphere.
“Everyone has things to tell you and share all kinds of entertaining stories. People feel they want to come in because it lifts them up.”
For Karen, volunteering at the day hospice has been one of the most rewarding things she’s ever done.
“I love the fact I am a jack of all trades, one day I’ll be making Easter bunny pom poms, the next I’ll be serving up dinner,” she said.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be part of the team and no day is ever the same.”
Day hospice manager Jayne Tooth said volunteers are a vital part of the team making the Wellbeing day and the wider day hospice the success it is.
“We are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful, committed group of volunteers, bringing such an amazing set of skills to the hospice and giving their time and expertise so generously,” she said.
“We’d like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers – we couldn’t do it without you.”