24 April 2014
Jess and Leilah volunteer with the Bristol Buddies project.
A Macmillan service for people living with and beyond cancer in Bristol urgently needs more volunteers to meet growing demand.
The service provides practical support to people living with cancer locally.
‘Bristol Buddies’ is operating in Bristol, its fringes and parts of South Gloucestershire. The project is designed to support anyone who has a cancer diagnosis, is experiencing side-effects from treatment such as fatigue or loss of mobility, and is in need of short- to medium-term assistance.
Jess and Leilah are already volunteers with Bristol Buddies. Jess says: ‘I began volunteering for Macmillan because I wanted to do something worthwhile with my spare time. As a student, I felt before that I didn’t make good use of the all the spare time I had. Volunteering for Macmillan has provided me with an opportunity to work with a huge charity and use my organisational skills. My assistance has heled the running of the Bristol Buddies team and kept it organised.’
Leilah says: 'I applied to volunteer with Macmillan as I was interested in providing help for people affected by cancer. It has been wonderful to see how much they appreciate your work and I have found it to be the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I will certainly carry on volunteering with Macmillan for as long as I can.'
Macmillan has revealed that more than one in five (22%) people living with cancer in Bristol – an estimated 2,600 people – are suffering with loneliness as a result of their cancer, rendering many housebound and unable to feed themselves properly. Macmillan’s Bristol Buddies is actively trying to support these people, but could reach so many more with more volunteers on board.
Piers Cardiff, Macmillan's Direct Volunteering Services Manager for the area, says: 'Since the project started in June last year, we’ve been able to support around 25 people.'
'The service was developed because local health professionals and support groups identified a gap in support at home for people living with cancer, and the uptake we’ve had has really proven that. A growing demand for the service means that to be there for everyone who needs us, we need to recruit more volunteers and in particular another lead volunteer.'
Volunteer support might include light gardening or housework, walking the dog, shopping, lifts to one-off appointments in the community or preparing a meal.
Put a few hours to good use and join a small group of trained volunteers to make sure nobody in Bristol has to face cancer alone. Find out more or register your interest.