Monday 3rd December 2012
Social Worker Jack Holt shares his experience of volunteering for the Macmillan Solutions scheme.
Macmillan Solutions volunteers provide practical and emotional support to people affected by cancer in local communities.
I was asked to help Macmillan start a volunteer group for the scheme as part of my job as a social worker. It was at the initial meetings that I decided I wanted to volunteer too.
The project manager and I worked out what I had to offer. I wanted to support people with cancer in practical ways and use my knowledge of local services. I have now volunteered for a number of people with cancer and carers.
I supported an older man with prostate cancer and dementia. He lived some distance from his family and was unable to visit the pub independently. He and I went to the pub and local cafes, the barbers and shopping. I also helped him to make memoirs of his old regiment and sourced photos.
I supported a woman whose partner had died and whose garden needed a tidy. It did not take long but was really appreciated, as the garden was important to her partner and therefore important to her as she came to terms with her recent loss.
I’m currently one of a cohort of volunteers supporting an older man with cancer whose home needs a tidy up and some decorating work. So a few evenings a week, I tidy and throw away unwanted items and start decorating. We also take breaks for drinks and talking and listening – that most vital thing that Macmillan Solutions volunteers provide so naturally.
All of these tasks involved practical help that did not take much time. I often helped out on my way home from work or for an hour after tea. I have also received training on cancer and treatments from professionals in the field, which I have found invaluable. I have no doubt this training has benefited me in my working life as well as my role as a volunteer.
It’s been good to feel part of the team and share their commitment and enthusiasm. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to volunteer for Macmillan and sharing our experiences has been a genuinely warming experience.
Source of support
One of the reasons I wanted to volunteer is because a Macmillan nurse cared for my father in the last weeks of his life, making it possible for him to remain at home. She provided respite for me as his main carer and was a valued source of support for my mum and I. I have enjoyed and feel proud of being a part of Macmillan Solutions.
For more information, email Jack.
Macmillan Solutions is run by Audacious Church in Manchester. Email Audacious Church.