Meet Jilly, one of our Bereavement Support Volunteers

To celebrate Volunteers’ Week, we’re shining a spotlight on some of our wonderful volunteers. Meet Jilly Byford, who is a Bereavement Support Volunteer.

What does the role involve? Offering one to one bereavement counselling. Each week I have the honour of sitting with a fellow human being who may be filled with sadness, and who often has conflicting emotions after a loved one has died. Listening to their experiences and sitting with them as they explore their many emotions, and hoping to enable them to find a way of coping, is a rare privilege.

How long have you been doing it? Since March 2023.

Why did you want to volunteer for the hospice? It is a two-fold reason. As part of my degree course, I am required to find a placement to practise and develop my counselling skills. I knew I really wanted to do my first placement at St Wilfrid’s, which I have known in both its locations. The second reason is years ago, my mother was given the most wonderful end of life care at a hospice in Hampshire (Rowans in Waterlooville). I saw firsthand the incredible work done by these wonderful places, by amazing people. Since then, I have been a fervent supporter of the hospice movement.

What do you enjoy about the role? It is an honour to meet and work with the people I do, and I find it very life affirming. The people you meet, and the wonderful atmosphere at St Wilfrid’s, just enfolds you as you enter and gives you a great big hug. The whole place exudes warmth and positivity.

What would you say to other people considering volunteering? Just do it, I am confident you won’t regret it.

Anything you’d like to add? Everyone at St Wilfrid’s is so friendly and positive. The cakes aren’t bad either, I recommend the Street Café to everyone!

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, visit: www.stwhospice.org/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/, email: vsteam@stwhospice.org or phone: 01323 434205.

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