Since launching in April 2019, more than 2,000 people have received free specialist palliative care from the healthcare partnership of St Elizabeth Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH).
The joint initiative was established with the aim of bringing greater parity in the levels and range of care available to the communities of Great Yarmouth and Waveney in comparison to the rest of the region.
Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and neurological disorder, patients and their families, have received free support through the partnership’s varied specialist care provision.
This includes the service’s 24-hour advice line OneCall, at Beccles Hospital, community care through hospice clinical nurse specialists working across Waveney and Great Yarmouth and the hospice’s emotional, wellbeing and bereavement support service, LivingGrief.
This care is made possible by the staff from the hospice and ECCH but also by more than 100 volunteers who generously give their time to support the service. These volunteers provide their help in many ways, including supporting fundraising events, working in the administration teams, providing assistance to clinical staff and working in one of St Elizabeth Hospice’s seven retail shops in Great Yarmouth and Waveney such as in Beccles, Gorleston and Southwold.
One St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer is Amanda who has volunteered for the hospice for two years at its Southwold retail shop and at the hospice’s Community Care Unit services (previously known as Day Care services) provided at Beccles Hospital.
“I really enjoy volunteering, meeting new people, learning about their roles and developing new skills,” explained Amanda, who lives near Beccles.
“In the shop it’s great to have the chance meet customers and learn what’s hot and what’s not in retail, while volunteering for the Community Care Unit is very rewarding.
“You feel like a valued member of the team carrying out your role knowing its helping others receive vital support from the hospice and ECCH’s partnership.
“During my working life I became aware of the role of palliative care and how local hospices provide dignity and compassion to patients and families through their holistic support.
“While ‘a hospice’ is a building, the services it provides take many forms throughout the community in people’s homes, via bereavement support, therapy support as well as many more services they offer for free.
“It was my experiences working closely to the hospice movement which inspired me to volunteer for St Elizabeth Hospice when I left work.”
Volunteering for St Elizabeth Hospice sees supporters donate any amount of time they are able to do so. Currently Amanda volunteers for three hours a week, with flexibility to cover extra hours when required.
Her role sees her support the Beccles retail shop in many ways, while volunteering with Community Care Unit team sees her welcome patients, arrange activities for the patients to enjoy and making time for a cup of tea and chat among a variety of other tasks.
“Considering volunteering for St Elizabeth Hospice is something I would recommend to people looking for a change,” said Amanda.
“It’s a brilliant way to challenge yourself, learn new skills and meet new people while helping contribute to a good cause.
“I always look forward to my volunteering shifts and to know my support makes a difference to the hospice’s services is very rewarding.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.
Further information about the partnership’s services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney can found by visiting www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/hospice-care/great-yarmouth_and-waveney.