A very warm St Oswald’s Hospice welcome to our Volunteer Coordinator for the Lymphoedema Service, Lizzie Spencer. Lizzie joined the team in July this year and has since been finding her feet and shaping this brand new role.
After being a volunteer herself at other organisations and working within volunteering roles Lizzie brings a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience
Lizzie tells us more:
“Over the years I’ve worked in volunteering related roles for several charities and a student’s union, and have been a volunteer myself, so becoming a Volunteer Coordinator at the Hospice seemed like the perfect next role for me. My last job working with volunteers was on a city farm in Bristol, and the two jobs I’ve had since moving back to the North East in 2019 were not volunteering related, so I really missed working with volunteers. When I saw the job was based in Gosforth I thought it would be nice to be back in the area as I went to school just over the road!
“Even though I was aware of the Hospice and had visited some of the shops I didn’t realise how big it was and didn’t know the Lymphoedema Service existed. As this is a brand new role it’s been challenging but it’s also a fantastic opportunity and I’m looking forward to developing the role over time. One of my first challenges was to understand where volunteers fit within a clinical setting and can be best used. I quickly learnt that during the pandemic the lymphoedema volunteers were crucial in assisting the clinical staff, as they were supporting on home visits, and by them being there it freed up another member of staff to see another patient.
“We currently have 23 lymphoedema volunteers so I support them in getting the best volunteering experience possible. I’m involved with recruitment, induction, ensuring they have the right training, rota planning, volunteer one to ones and more. I also provide a link between the volunteers and the senior clinical staff in the Lymphoedema Team. We have a real mix of volunteers; some who have been here a while and some who joined during Covid-19. Some who are retired nurses and some who are just starting out in their careers and want to train to work in clinical roles. It’s been a pleasure getting to know them all and learning about the Service from them.
“Everyone has been so welcoming and warm. It’s inspiring to see that despite how challenging the pandemic has been everyone has pulled together and worked so hard to benefit the patients and ensure that they are well cared for. It’s a lovely environment to work in and rewarding when I hear the positive feedback that the volunteers receive.”