Tuesday 28th April 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2015
A Macmillan post at The Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford- Upon-Avon is helping young people influence local services
The Shakespeare Hospice has a vision to build a compassionate community – one in which children, young people and families affected by life-limiting illnesses receive the best possible care and support. This includes enabling young people to actively contribute to local well-being.
The hospice’s Macmillan Youth and Community Coordinator Helen Smith is working to embed services that bring this vision to life. One of Helen’s roles is to ensure that young people have a say in the development of services. Helen says: ‘We believe that we can provide the best services for young people by asking them what they want and by empowering them in decision-making – they are developing skills for their lives too.’
Helen is working closely with the hospice’s Family Support Practitioner Alison Burford to develop services for children and young people, including those who are looking after someone or who are bereaved. Since September, Helen and Alison have worked in partnership with Warwickshire Young Carers’ Project to deliver group support sessions for young carers at the hospice. Separate groups for younger and older children meet fortnightly, providing young carers a range of activities for children and young people who are caring for a family member who may have a serious illness, disability or mental health issue. A support group for bereaved children and young people meets monthly.
The hospice also has Young Ambassadors, representing local secondary schools, who are helping to shape work experience and volunteer programmes. The Young Ambassadors receive training to help them talk to others about the hospice.
The hospice is committed to developing educational, work experience and volunteering opportunities for young people. These opportunities bridge the gap between older and younger generations, by encouraging young people to be involved in supporting people who are ill, and helping them learn about hospice care. Work experience opportunities range from working in the Day Hospice, to having taster days in different departments, allowing young people to gain an understanding of how a charity works. Many young people ask for volunteering opportunities and these are offered in the hospice shops and at fundraising events.
Please email Helen Smith at The Shakespeare Hospice.