As our Children and Young Adults Service turns 15 we wanted to introduce you to one of our amazing volunteers. Volunteers are a huge part of the Hospice team and we couldn’t provide the outstanding care and support to North East families without them.
David Barlow has been a member of the team since we first opened our doors back in 2003. David tells us more:
“I began volunteering after I retired as a teacher and never thought that 15 years later I’d still be here. I came in for a tour to see the Unit and then that was it!
“I come in on a Sunday and the tasks I do are dependent on the child or young adult’s needs. It can be anything from helping a child and their sibling to create a wall display, bouncing a ball or reading a book for someone to fall asleep to. I also help out the unit with general tasks such as restocking the kitchen”
Talking more about why he volunteers at the Hospice, David continues:
“Having been a volunteer for 15 years you get to know quite a few of the families who come for short breaks which is lovely. Last week one of the children we care for was able to sit up by herself for the first time, which was a huge achievement for her so to be able to witness it was priceless. At times like that, it really reinforces why you volunteer.
“As well as all that, the staff are genuinely interested in their volunteers and I am treated as part of the team.”
When asked about a memory that stands out over the years, David said:
“There are so many great memories but there is one in particular that stands out. A few years ago we had a child who came to us for end of life care. He stayed with us for about nine months and against all odds went home. For me, that truly reinforces that it’s not just care we provide at St Oswald’s, its love.”
Volunteering at the Children’s Hospice has led to David taking up additional volunteer roles in the Hospice, such as leading reminiscence sessions within our day care service to adult patients, and becoming an ambassador for the Hospice delivering talks on behalf of our Fundraising Team.
To find out more about volunteering at St Oswald’s, and the current volunteer opportunities visit www.stoswaldsuk.org/volunteering