Tuesday 12th June 2012
A group of volunteers helping people through bereavement was named Volunteer Group of the Year 2011 by the Northumberland Volunteer Centre.
Volunteers for the Macmillan bereavement service offer the bereaved an opportunity to talk about the person who has died and to express their grief.
Volunteer Michelle Robinson says, ‘Everyone has a story to tell. If I can offer someone an hour or two of my time to support them during what can be a difficult and emotional process, then my time is well spent. Receiving the award was very exciting for our team.’
Group coordinator Carol Sullivan says, ‘I was so pleased that my group won this award, getting the recognition they justly deserve, as they perform their roles quite anonymously.
‘The group are very committed and compassionate, and give their time freely, visiting many people grieving for a loved one. This is emotional and mentally draining.
‘Bereavement support takes a certain type of volunteer with particular qualities. These include excellent listening and communication skills, mental strength and great empathy. The volunteers all regularly confirm what great satisfaction they feel when leaving a client for the last time, knowing they will never get over losing a loved one, but are now learning to live with their loss, and looking forward into the future in the majority of cases.
‘We have grown over the years, developing a good structure of support and experience. We have a very low turnover of volunteers and many hold long-time service awards from Macmillan.
‘We are about to expand the service and will be offering information and support in addition to the bereavement service. The existing team of volunteers have enthusiastically agreed to help develop the service so we can reach as many people as possible, as soon as possible.’
Contact Carol Sullivan, Macmillan Bereavement Information and Support Service Team Leader, on 01670 855533 or email Carol.
We have information about help with bereavement aimed at people affected by cancer.