Lesley’s Story

If you’ve ever spent a Wednesday afternoon at The Mill café, you’ve more than likely been greeted at the door by Lesley Kirkham, who works voluntarily as an advisor at The Mill.

Lesley loves speaking to people, and it’s her role to lend an ear to visitors. She’s there to help with advice and information, to signpost people to other organisations who may be able to help, and to simply be a friendly face to chat things over with. It’s all part of The Mill’s commitment to supporting those affected by serious illness and bereavement– offering support in a more relaxed, informal environment away from the main hospice.

Lesley, pictured in the middle of café regulars Joseph and his daughter, loves her role because she gets ‘job satisfaction’. She says people like Joseph come to The Mill weekly not just to grab a coffee, but to spend an afternoon in a warm and friendly environment.

“I have a good chat with Joseph every week – he comes in with his daughter who’s also keen to support the hospice,” she said.

When Lesley was looking for a volunteering role with a local charity, she said the idea of The Mill immediately appealed to her. “The Mill is a lovely place for people who might be lonely or worried about something.

“They may want to talk to someone who will listen and is impartial. Maybe point them in the right direction to get help or they may be lonely and may go all week without speaking to anybody.  Visitors can come in to The Mill to grab a drink, a bite to eat and have a chat about anything they want to, and somebody will be there to listen.

“The ambience is great and the food is superb. It’s not a rushed environment, so people can take things at their own pace, and the people I have met while working here have been wonderful.”

Before joining the team at The Mill, Lesley worked as a medical sales trainer for 26 years, which consisted of travelling the country and being away from home a lot.

Lesley however suffered a serious illness a short time ago, and after losing her father, she decided it was time for a change.

“After losing my father two years ago, I decided there is more to life, and that spending time with friends and close family is more important,” added Lesley.

“I nursed my dad for a while before he went to Bury Hospice. The hospice staff showed such love and care for my father during his last days that I decided that I wanted to become a volunteer and give something back.

“I chose St Catherine’s because it was closer, and because I knew they had a fantastic reputation themselves. The staff here are so lovely and the care they give to patients is brilliant.

“I tell people all the time how nice it is working at The Mill. I’ve even inspired many people to come on-board as volunteers!”

If you’d like to join Lesley on-board and volunteer for The Mill, check out our current openings here: TheMillVolunteers.

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