The Brigitte Trust is an independent registered charity offering a free service of emotional support and practical help from trained and supported volunteers. The service is for adults and their carers living in every Surrey borough and facing the challenges of life-limiting conditions including cancers, neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, lung disease, heart failure, and many more.

Brigitte Trust volunteers provide a listening ear and practical help which is unique and respectful of the needs of the individual and the family. The aim is for our clients to live life fully and as well as possible. All volunteers are extensively trained and DBS checked.

The Brigitte Trust works closely with a wide range of organisations and understands that supporting people at this stage of life involves many relationships. Volunteers can access extra help from social care, specialist partner charities and community support groups within each area. Most importantly, they are one constant in a changing situation.

Our mission

We believe that everyone has the right to live well beyond diagnosis and make the most of their time, no matter what the outcome.

More people are living longer with a diagnosis and our aim is to ensure people living with these conditions, as well as their families and carers, can make the most of the time they have.

We aim to support as many people throughout Surrey as possible to improve the quality of their experience of living with, and dying from, key health conditions.

Our history

The Brigitte Trust was established in 1984 by Dorking resident Brigitte Watkin, together with a group of committed social care professionals, with a simple mission – to support people at the end of their life in their own homes whilst offering social and emotional support. Over the years we have been privileged to help nearly 5,000 people across Surrey to live as well as possible at home or in a caring environment, whatever the outcome of their condition. We received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2015.

We now have over 150 fully trained local volunteers who provide support tailored to the unique needs of our clients, many of whom live alone. Our referrals come from individuals, hospices and health and social care professionals and we have current partnerships with over 25 organisations ranging from NHS Trusts, District & Borough Councils, Hospices, Social Services, other local and national charities and we are now the go-to voluntary support service in Surrey for those living with life-limiting conditions, and the people who support them.

Our core values

We work to achieve a high standard of support and our key values can be summed up as being:

Personal and Compassionate

We understand that every person is different, every encounter important, every journey with a life-limiting condition a personal one. We tailor our emotional and practical support service to the needs of the individual client and their families, working with them face-to-face. We feel privileged to provide help to those living with a life-limiting condition and the people who support them.

Open and Diverse

We approach the needs of the people we help with an open mind. We enter the home of the client with respect for: the nature of the illness, the timescale, their culture and traditions and the needs of their family and friends. We treat everyone we work with, with fairness and respect.

Collaborative

We understand that supporting people with life-limiting conditions takes a community.

We collaborate with everyone we work with, from health and social care professionals and organisations, to volunteers, supporters and of course the people who use our services and their carers. We signpost other services to our clients when appropriate.

Practical and Professional

We use our expertise to help our clients live as well as possible in their own home for as long as it’s practical and desirable. We continue to support them when they need to move into other care environments, such as hospice care. We undertake to be as professional and ethical as possible and to ensure the highest standards in all we do.