Driver Mike connects people from home to the hospice
He is often a comforting presence for people who are anxious about coming to the hospice for the first time, and is regularly someone people can talk to away from a medical environment. It means that, to many of the people he transports, he is a valued friend.
“I have really good relationships with most of the patients I come into contact with,” said Mike, who gives his time four to five days a week, covering an amazing 400 miles across Chorley, Preston and South Ribble each month. He is part of a team of volunteer drivers who bring people to and from day therapy at the hospice, or to attend clinic appointments.
“When people come to St Catherine’s for the first time, they can be a bit anxious, and don’t know what to expect,” he said.
“We are often the first point of contact people have had with the hospice so we have to put them at ease and assure them that there’s nothing to worry about.
“After they’ve come in for the first time, almost everyone I bring in looks forward to coming here, as they know they’ll be spending time with like-minded people who are facing similar circumstances. Particularly for people who may be living on their own, it’s something they come to look forward to.
“Those who come into the hospice regularly will usually have the same driver so they get used to us – we develop a relationship and a connection.”
Mike is sharing his experiences of St Catherine’s as part of this year’s Hospice Care Week, which has the theme Connecting Care. St Catherine’s is joining with others across the country to raise awareness of how hospices connect with the people in their communities, and how the care they provide helps people to connect with each other.
Mike, an electrician by trade, decided he wanted to volunteer for the hospice to keep himself busy through the working week, after retiring from his last job as maintenance manager at Shaw Hill Golf Club.
Although he admits swapping the cable wires for the steering wheel was a big change, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I have great admiration for the patients who come to St Catherine’s – they are facing tough circumstances, but they’re still incredibly up-beat and pleasant regardless.
“Volunteering helps me just as much as I help other people. It gives me something to do and gives me a purpose.”
Mike is one of a number of drivers who volunteer for the hospice every week, and is part of a team of more than 600 dedicated volunteers who play an essential role in enabling St Catherine’s to provide its services.
Mike added: “You get great job satisfaction, and I definitely would recommend people to volunteer – in fact, I already have!
“A lot of people think hospices are simply are place to go to die, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – they’re all about helping people to have the best possible quality of life. It’s a real pleasant atmosphere, and completely different to what people might think.”
You don’t have to drive for miles to be in touch with your local hospice for Hospice Care Week – if you’d like to mark the occasion, you can donate £3 to St Catherine’s by texting ‘Hospice Care’ to 70444 – Thank you!
If you think you can put your wheels to a good cause, you can become a volunteer driver to. Visit here for more details.
Texts cost £3 plus network charge. St Catherine’s Hospice receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care 01772 629171 Charity No: 512186.
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