Leeds hospice appeals for befriending volunteer in bid to tackle isolation

Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, Headingley. Picture by Simon Hulme.
Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, Headingley. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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A Leeds hospice is urging people to become befriending volunteers and offer social support to terminally ill patients.

Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, in Headingley, is appealing for residents to give their time to a Government-funded research study measuring the impact of befriending on reducing loneliness and isolation for people at the end of life.

Helen Ankrett, who is director of Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Helen Ankrett, who is director of Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Some volunteers would work several hours a week at the hospice, while other general volunteering roles available include providing occasional support at events and work in the community.

The £800,000 loneliness study involves six other facilities including St Michael’s Hospice, in Harrogate, and aims to show how volunteers providing companionship and support in reconnecting with communities can tackle isolation.

Laura Taylor, voluntary services coordinator at Wheatfields, said: “We have first-hand experience of the benefits of volunteering and the difference that services like befriending can make to people’s lives.

“After all, we cannot change the outcome, but we can improve the journey and by demonstrating the impact that these services have, with very strong evidence to back it up, we are hopeful that this will allow for even more services to be delivered in the future.”

The impact of the national study’s various strands will be evaluated by the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University and the Institute for Volunteering Research to inform future work.

For further information on the befriending posts call 0113 2787249 or email jane.driver@sueryder.org, or for more on other Wheatfields voluntary roles call 0113 2787249 or email laura.taylor@sueryder.org.

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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