St Peter's Hospice launches Neighbours Network

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By sophia1980 | Friday, February 21, 2014, 15:20

Bristol's only adult hospice has launched a brand new scheme designed to offer additional support to people suffering from life-limiting illnesses and their carers.

The Neighbours Network has been set up by St Peter's Hospice and provides social and practical support for patients and carers in their own homes, from a network of volunteers in the local area.

Hospice Neighbours can offer help with anything from shopping, gardening, collecting prescriptions, transportation to appointments or even just by providing company and someone to have a cup of tea with.

St Peter's Hospice Head of Volunteer Resources Jenni Travers explains what the service will mean to patients and carers in the city. She said:

"We set up the Neighbours Network as an additional way to support the people we care for. While our medical and clinical teams care for our patients' needs, a large part of dealing with life-limiting illnesses is the social and practical aspects of their illness.

"Most people with long-term or chronic conditions or who are at end of life prefer to be at home and an increasing number of these people live alone or do not have family members living nearby.

"The Neighbours Network allows us to provide volunteers out in the community where they are needed and enables as good a quality of life as possible for our patients who are either lonely or too tired to do simple things for themselves.

"So far we've had brilliant feedback from the people we've helped both on an ongoing basis and for one-off tasks. For example, a patient who was in his 60s was sorting out his house and we helped him take a load of stuff to the tip, which he wouldn't have been able to do himself. It's often the little things that people need help with the most."

St Peter's Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice and cares for more than 2,670 patients each year as well as supporting family members.

It costs £6.8 million to run the hospice with 77% of its income derived from the generous support of local people.

The Neighbours Network is available to all current St Peter's Hospice patients and their carers and can be accessed through a self-referral to volunteer services.

Jenni continued: "So far we have 30 volunteers who are trained as Neighbours, but the goal is to have a whole network of volunteers in each area of Bristol serving people local to them.

"Hospice Neighbours can undertake tasks any day of the week, during the day or up until 8pm at night. Some Neighbours work full-time and volunteer for a few hours a week out-of-hours.

"If you are robust and resilient and think you could provide some company or practical support, once a week, to someone in your local area, please get in touch.

"Similarly, if you are a St Peter's patient or you care for a St Peter's patient and you would like some additional help, please give us a call."

Contact Jenni Travers Head of Volunteer Resources on 0117 9159448 or email jenni.travers@stpetershospice.org

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