We’re using Hospice UK’s Hospice Care Week, with its theme of ‘We are hospice care’, to shine a light on colleagues at Princess Alice Hospice.

Alongside her role as our Service and Development Lead, Diversity & Inclusion, Rachael shares her thoughts on volunteering for our Compassionate Neighbour programme:

Smiling H&S shot of Rachael BasakRachael was aware of the Princess Alice Hospice Compassionate Neighbours’ volunteering programme before she began working here, recalling that ‘I’ve been aware of the programme for quite a few years and have had an uncompleted application form saved on my laptop all that time! Coming to work here, and now managing the Compassionate Neighbours’ team as part of my role, gave me the kickstart I needed to get going.’

Despite her busy role, Rachael was keen to get involved and has found that her particular Compassionate Neighbour ‘match’ has been easy for her, geographically: ‘’I completed 2 days of fantastic training. Shortly afterwards, I was matched to my Community Member, who lives close to the Hospice and I visit them each week for an hour.’’ Matches aren’t always so convenient for our Compassionate Neighbours, and ongoing time commitments vary for each relationship, depending on what the Compassionate Neighbour is able to do and what suits the Community Member.

In terms of personal qualities needed to become a great Compassionate Neighbour, Rachael says it takes ‘kindness, being thoughtful, and having a real interest in people.’ When asked what she’s got out of being part of the programme herself, Rachael is quick to respond: ‘So much! Firstly, I got lots of training. There’s an exercise about boundaries that I often reflect on, both personally and professionally. The nature of my Community Member’s illness means they are mostly unable to communicate with me. This means my relationship with them is like no other I have, or have had, before. I’m learning the power of just being, holding hands, and doing simple activities. My time with them is like no other in my everyday life and I really enjoy visiting. ‘’