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The Brigitte Trust Thirty Years On

The Brigitte Trust Thirty Years On

The Brigitte Trust was set up by visionary Dorking resident Brigitte Watkin to support people at the end of life in their own homes, offering support and respite to their carers and emotional support to the wider family too, plus bereavement support if it was requested.

From small beginnings in the early years the Brigitte Trust has grown in the past 30 years to cover most of Surrey and, more recently, Crawley and Horsham in West Sussex. The focus was on emotional and spiritual needs – a holistic approach taken to this day.

Volunteers offer help and support – complementing the care of the day-to-day medical teams, working closely with community specialists and hospice nurses, social care and discharge teams to offer carer respite and a listening ear to patients and their families.

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=”600″]In Profile: Promotions Manager, Vanessa Smith
I spoke to Vanessa from the charity to learn more about her role, the charity and volunteering.

What is your role with The Brigitte Trust?
“My role is to publicise our service, provide all the literature and most importantly help find our volunteers! They are the bedrock of our charity; they’re everyday people who make a difference each week to the lives of others.”

What does working for The Brigitte Trust mean to you?
“We’re in our 33rd year now, and I have been with the charity for most of that time! We have the ability to connect with families, carers and clients at a special level. It takes someone who is good at listening, non-judgmental and with empathy.”

What is your message to anyone who might think volunteering is depressing?
“Volunteering was not depressing for me – on the contrary it was uplifting, special and taught me much about myself. I’ve applied my training to so many aspects of my life whilst staying alongside family members at a poignant and emotional time and offering my time as a listener.’

“What makes our volunteers so special is that most importantly, they are not related and have the ability to be impartial, which really helps family members share some of the more difficult aspects of serious illness and I have to say our volunteer training is second to none!”


If The Brigitte Trust can help you, call: 01306 881816, or visit their website:

Their service is free and they are always looking for volunteers!

By Jacob White

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