A series of training and information sessions have been organised for volunteers keen to become part of a charity’s Help at Home service.
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
Help at Home is one of its key volunteer services and involves helping families with everyday jobs like shopping, collecting prescriptions, cooking, vacuuming, dusting, washing, ironing and gardening.
Other roles include looking after pets and sibling support, including helping children and young people with their homework.
One-off projects – things that might not get done otherwise – could include decorating, painting, clearing out rooms and helping families move house.
EACH is keen to hear from anyone able to help, either once a week or once a month. Volunteers can be flexible and all help is appreciated.
Volunteer Services Manager Hugh McElhinney said: “Help at Home is hugely important to our families. It makes the world of difference at an unimaginably hard time in their lives.
“It’s great to be able to relaunch the service, because the scheme was so badly affected during the pandemic.
“Now we’re in a position to restart things and we’d love to hear from caring individuals who might be willing to help with some practical support.
“It works on various levels and our volunteers have such a positive impact.
“They help families with jobs and chores they might otherwise not have time to do.
“It gives them a real lift and means they can focus on the care of their child, either being there to look after them or creating precious memories together.”
EACH has three hospices – one at The Nook, in Framingham Earl, near Norwich, one at The Treehouse, in Ipswich, and one at Milton, near Cambridge.
The first of the two-day training sessions took place last week, at The Nook.
Future training dates at the Norfolk hospice will be on 8th and 11th March, 30th and 31st May, 13th and 15th September and 28th and 29th November.
The dates for The Treehouse, in Suffolk, are 7th and 8th April, 11th and 12th July and 17th and 18th October and anyone interested in being part of the Milton-based sessions in Cambridgeshire should make a note of 22nd and 25th March, 16th and 17th June, 22nd and 23rd September and 5th and 6th December.
EACH Volunteer Coordinator Anne Rayner said: “Our training days are very informal and take place within a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
“Our volunteers enjoy meeting and chatting and we always stop to enjoy lunch together, as well as having a hospice tour.
“We cover various topics and the idea is to prepare people, so they don’t have unanswered questions by the time they go into a family’s home.
“It gives us a chance to get to know them and vice versa.
“This is such an important service, especially given the rural nature of East Anglia.
“Families have our amazing hospices but some may live a distance away, so having help and support in their town or village is vitally important.
“In short, we need volunteers everywhere, across our four counties, and would love to hear from anyone keen to get involved.
“Whatever time they can spare is appreciated, be it on a weekly, fortnightly or ad hoc basis, and will make such a difference.”
The attached image shows potential Help at Home volunteers Alison Shearer, Judy Ellard, Eileen Doherty and Sylvy Cope at the first training session at The Nook.