Weston Buddies need volunteer boost

PUBLISHED: 13:30 17 July 2014

Susannah Read with volunteers Helle Mugridge, Kathryn English, Jesssica Cross and Karen Elliott.

Susannah Read with volunteers Helle Mugridge, Kathryn English, Jesssica Cross and Karen Elliott.

Archant

A BUDDY system launched in Weston last year is providing people affected by cancer with emotional and practical support.

The Macmillan project is entirely run by volunteers but co-ordinator Susannah Read said she needs to double the number of people on her team.

Some of the work currently being undertaken by volunteers includes doing light housework for a couple who both have cancer and are on crutches and providing emotional support for a young woman with no family nearby.

Susannah said: “The health professionals we have spoken to all said this is just a brilliant idea and there is definitely a need for this.

“The health professionals treat the medical needs but there’s this gap where people finish treatment and still need support, and volunteers can give time and not have to rush off after 15 minutes or half an hour.

“It means a lot to have the same person come to see them. Continuity is very valuable.”

Weston Buddies launched last September, and after recruiting and training a small group of volunteers, began to take referrals in December.

Susannah said: “We had a slow trickle of referrals at first and suddenly got the same amount again in a week.

“I really need to double the size of the team to keep up with demand.

“Volunteers don’t need any formal qualifications, they just need to be warm, friendly and empathetic.”

The Weston Buddy service is offered in the BS22, BS23 and BS24 postcodes and volunteers need to be able to give half a day a week.

Anyone who would like to get involved should contact Susannah on 07821 371035 or email westonbuddies@
macmillan.org.uk

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