Why I wanted to be a Saint Francis Hospice OrangeLine volunteer

Jo Saby, Saint Francis Hospice OrangeLine volunteer

Jo Saby volunteers about three hours a week and says she is inspired by her callers. - Credit: Saint Francis Hospice

When I lost someone close to me, some people said "time is a healer", some said "I know exactly how you feel" and some said nothing at all and avoided me in case they said the wrong thing and upset me.

I am not sure what was worse. I didn’t want to talk to my closest family members about how I was feeling as I didn’t want them to worry about me and on some days I didn’t want to talk to anyone at all.

All I can say is, Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-atte-Bower, where my loved one passed away, reached out to me at that very difficult time. And something pinged in my mind that when I was able to, I wanted to help people going through difficult times too.

Fast forward six years. I saw an advertisement for a Saint Francis Hospice volunteers open day in early 2020. Come and find out more, the poster said. So off I went, a tad nervous I must say, and having looked at all of the wonderful volunteering opportunities, and met the wonderful lady who manages OrangeLine, I felt strongly that OrangeLine was the place for me.

I was over the moon when I was approved as one of the team.


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It was around that time that we went into the first lockdown However, the hospice team managed to move all of the training onto Zoom sessions, along with a couple of park meet-ups when we were allowed to do so. This worked perfectly for me and I felt more relaxed learning in my own home for sure.

I volunteer for approximately three hours a week, depending on how long my wonderful clients and I chat for. I volunteer from home at present due to Covid. There are no time constraints on our calls - I am there for my clients and they are my number one priority.

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I am inspired by our callers every day. They are so brave for picking up that phone. It takes courage to ask for help sometimes.

I am honoured to be an OrangeLine volunteer. I love my volunteering day, it is the very least I can do for our callers.

Lastly, I must mention the friendship and support I have found amongst the OrangeLine team and the wider hospice staff. I have never felt so supported and appreciated.

If you are feeling isolated or lonely, please contact OrangeLine on 01708 758649 or to find out more visit sfh.org.uk/orangeline

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