A Brigitte Trust volunteer visits the same family member each week – building a relationship centred on the client and their individual needs with a careful match of volunteer and client. More people than ever are now living with their diagnosis, and our aim is to support them to live well and live fully. The service, always free of charge, will be reviewed according to need, always with respect for each client’s cultural and personal situation.
Enjoying regular home visits and building a trusting relationship with their Brigitte Trust volunteer means clients have the chance to share some of the more challenging aspects of their illness. Someone who is just a step away from the family circle, who will listen without judgement.
Volunteers are fully insured to drive clients to hospital appointments or for treatment where they will accompany their client and return them safely home – maybe with a coffee stop on the way. Supermarket shopping, a library visit, picking up a family birthday card, making a light lunch, changing the bed or helping with paperwork. All volunteers are fully DBS checked and can help make the day just a bit more manageable.
Our volunteers have enjoyed so many special times with their clients. On quieter days they have read to clients and listened to music. Sharpened up their Scrabble and jigsaw skills and set out the watercolours. Written down and recorded life histories. They have even been to the seaside – a special request for a paddle. Enjoyed planting spring bulbs, walked the dog together or simply taken a drive out into the Surrey Hills. A pie and a pint, or coffee and cake, watching the world go by. A chance to discover new places and interests and revisit former ones.
Support for carers
Our clients remain at the heart of our service but we also support the wider family with advice and information. If there are children and young people in the family we can find specialist support for them. Main caregivers will have the chance to go out for a short break during a volunteer visit and spend time talking with their volunteer when they return. Feedback from carers is overwhelming – often saying the opportunity to go out knowing their loved one is in good hands is priceless. They play golf, have a haircut, take an art class, have lunch with a friend or simply get out into the open air for a break.
Our registered Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs are standing by to visit clients in their homes or in a care home. For many people who may have had dogs in their lives – and enormously missed their company – these visits are magical. We have seen clients and their families light up with joy as they stroked and cuddled our PAT dogs – their visits can certainly calm anxiety and boost wellbeing ….particularly with the anticipation of a return visit.
Our partners at Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) offer home visits with free confidence-boosting skincare and makeup sessions to help people who are suffering the visible side effects of cancer treatment. Many side effects can be distressing and dramatically alter appearance and body image. This in turn affects self-esteem and the confidence and determination to overcome the difficulties of the treatment itself. Research has shown the strong link between confidence and self-esteem and we are proud to be working with Look Good Feel Better and seeing the positive effect upon our clients. Sessions, including men’s skincare and grooming are also available.
Concierge & Signposting
We are aware that supporting people with life-limiting conditions takes a whole community. We collaborate with everyone we work with, from health and social care professionals to the many specialist groups and organisations both within Surrey and nationwide ready to help inform and support our clients and their carers. For example we can help you navigate the complexity of the health and social care system, help you get a wheelchair or get advice on benefits and much more.