Have you recently retired? Perhaps you are looking for a rewarding voluntary position? Or you might just want to chat and befriend a male resident who could do with a little support? If this sounds like you – or a man that you know – the Brigitte Trust want to hear from you!
The charity, which covers Surrey and West Sussex, offers emotional support and hands-on-help at home to people and their families facing cancer, MND, MS, heart and lung failure and other life-threatening illness. They have been running this free service for over thirty years, thanks to the help of local volunteers, but would like more men to join the team to be a shoulder of support for men in their care.
“For some of our male clients, as we call them, a male volunteer fits the bill,” Vanessa Smith, Promotions Manager for the Brigitte Trust says. “Overwhelmingly the caring staff, nurses and physios are female and male friends may be reluctant to call in which can make life rather lonely. Not every man wants to share his emotions!”
“Having a Brigitte Trust volunteer comfortably alongside to talk about anything and everything is relaxing and safe, and can lead to sharing of confidences and anxieties,” she explains. “Sometimes just having another man alongside is enough. Partners and family members get to have some ‘time out’ and come back refreshed.”
“Our male and female volunteers provide just the same care – being alongside listening as well as providing transport to hospital appointments and giving carers a chance to take a break and have someone outside the family circle to talk to about their experience.”
One local resident who enjoys sparing a few hours a week to make a difference to the lives of other men is Roger Davis. Roger, who lives in Surrey, decided to volunteer when he retired and has enjoyed his varied support-based role ever since: “Being a volunteer with The Brigitte Trust has enabled me to meet some amazing people both clients, their families and, of course, other volunteers,” he tells us. “Although our clients are usually at a challenging time in their lives I have always been met with great hospitality and good humour. To be able to help these people at their time of need really feels like a privilege.”
“If I can do it, then any man can! If you have a few hours a week to spare then I would suggest that you give it a try and I think you will find that it is a worthwhile and fulfilling role that can make a real difference to someone’s life,” Roger adds.
If you or someone you know would like to get involved, please call 01306 881816 or visit: www.brigittetrust.org.
A commitment of just four hours each week including travel time, is all that is needed. Training is provided.
By Shelley Baker