In support of national Hospice Care Week, which this year took the theme “This Is What It Takes,” Queenscourt turned the spotlight on some of our own unsung heroes. The idea behind this year’s theme was to show just what it takes to keep a hospice running 24 hours a day, all year round, providing essential support for local people when they need it the most. The emphasis was on highlighting the important work of paid staff and volunteers at Queenscourt who are often unseen by members of the public. In a week of blogs, we told the stories of seven people who deliver an essential service for Queenscourt, either as a paid member of staff or as a volunteer. All of them play a vital, but often less visible role in helping to keep the hospice running. Here we revisit the stories of these team members and explain how they make a difference to Queenscourt.
The week started with Zack Dowling’s story. At just 12-years-old Zack is already a dedicated volunteer fundraiser for Queenscourt, having raised more than £2,000. His first involvement with Queenscourt came when he was just two years old and he joined his family in the annual Santa Sprint event. Several years later, he was organising his own fundraising initiative for Queenscourt. Zack became interested in Queenscourt after his nana, Mary Hudson, became a volunteer here over three years ago. On hearing we didn’t have a dishwasher, Zack decided to raise enough money to buy one. Once that was installed, he continued to fundraise and has since raised enough to buy new pans, a canteen of cutlery and is now aiming at buying new trays. In recognition of all his efforts, Zack won the Neil Armstrong Award for “going above and beyond” at Ykids’ seventh annual Believe Awards after he was nominated by his school. “We are so proud of him,” say his grandparents Mary and Roy Hudson. “He has worked so hard to help those in need.”
Next up was hairdresser and barber Jackie Stephen who has been coming into Queenscourt one morning a week for the last year. She offers cut and blow drys and roller sets to both in-patient and day patients. A hairdresser for over 35 years and a barber for 12, Jackie loves every minute she spends at Queenscourt, brightening up the day for patients. “It is really, really rewarding,” said the mother-of-three. “My Dad had cancer so I know how much it means to people to get their hair done when they are not well and for me, it’s about giving something back. “I can go in there feeling a bit down, but I can guarantee when I come out I will have a big smile on my face. It just fills your heart with happiness.” Jackie is hoping to encourage other hairdressers to follow in her footsteps and consider volunteering their services at Queenscourt. “If you can cut hair, blow dry hair and put in a few rollers, that’s all you need,” she said. “It’s a great place to be - all the other volunteers and staff are so nice and make you feel so welcome.”
Cook Supervisor Sandra Stevenson, who has been part of the Queenscourt team since November 2010, was the focus of day three. Before starting work at Queenscourt, Sandra’s time and energy were spent raising her family but she also found time to embark on a three-year course in counselling which culminated with her being awarded a Diploma. When the time came for Sandra to look for a job, a position opened up at the hospice which, in her words “has changed my life.” Sandra is now part of the catering team who provide tasty and appealing meals for Queenscourt’s in-patient unit, ensuring those spending time at the hospice can enjoy their meal-times. Sandra says: “I love being part of the Queenscourt team. It’s a privilege to work with such fantastic people and to know we can make a difference to patients and their families’ lives. It’s always a delight to see the patients leave only a clean plate at the end of their meals.” Asked how she would describe Queenscourt in three words, Sandra replied: “Bittersweet, supportive, enriching.”
On day four we spoke to Sue Lovelock who is PA to the Corporate Services Director & Estates Officer for Queenscourt. Sue has worked at Queenscourt for 13 years now and her dual role means that no two days are the same. Sue can be working on a variety of projects at any one time from organising essential building maintenance and refurbishment to taking minutes at Board Meetings. It is the diversity of Sue's role that she most enjoys and the fact that the work is quite project-driven with tangible outcomes for the hospice. Sue is currently overseeing the construction of a new car park that will provide much-needed additional parking for patients and their families. If Sue had to sum up Queenscourt in three words she would describe it as "amazing, special and challenging."
Jo Caddy, who is Head of HR & Volunteering for Queenscourt, was day five’s focus. Jo has worked at Queenscourt for six-and-a-half years now and oversees the recruitment and development of all of Team Queenscourt, including medical staff, non-medical staff and volunteers. Getting the right people into the right jobs is key to the successful running of the hospice, and Jo is at the heart of making the employment journey a positive and rewarding one for all concerned. Jo’s role is very people-centred and she enjoys working with such a passionate and friendly team in order to deliver the vital care and support that Queenscourt provides for patients and their families.
If Jo had to sum up Queenscourt in three words her would be "inspiring, family and dedicated.”
Our penultimate blog focused on Danny Gordon who has been a Volunteer at Queenscourt for over five years. Following his retirement from the building trade, Danny decided to volunteer at the hospice having seen first-hand the wonderful care it provided for his sister. Danny describes volunteering at Queenscourt as the best thing he’s ever done and would highly recommend it to anyone. His volunteering role focuses on doing essential maintenance around the hospice, from checking water temperatures to fixing shelves. The diversity of the role means that Danny works across all areas of the hospice, and he thoroughly enjoys being part of Team Queenscourt. If Danny had to sum up Queenscourt in three words he would describe it as “happy, enjoyable and teamwork.”
For our final blog of the week we spoke to Joyce Brady who is a cleaner at Queenscourt. Joyce has worked at Queenscourt for seven years and finds her role really rewarding. Keeping the hospice clean and tidy is essential to creating a welcoming and pleasant environment for patients and their families. Joyce takes pride in her work and enjoys the fact that her role brings her into contact with so many people who are working for and being supported by Queenscourt. If Joyce had to sum up Queenscourt in three words she would describe it as “supportive, understanding and caring.”