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.

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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