Volunteers and patients praise The Mill project

Volunteers who are set to give their time working at The Mill have spoken about their excitement at opening to the public on Monday November 24th.

As a recently retired nurse of 38 years, Catherine Jones wanted to put her experience to a new use by volunteering as an advisor at The Mill.

She finished work as an immunology specialist nurse in May and heard about the opportunities on the radio during Volunteers’ Week in June.

Catherine, aged 56, from Penwortham, said: “Coming from a clinical background, I didn’t want to return to a clinical area by volunteering at the main hospice, but The Mill seemed very appropriate because it was a way of using my skills and experience, but in a new environment.

“I think having a place that people can drop into and take things at their own pace will be so helpful. I’ve been in situations of having a 10-15 minute appointment with someone, knowing that it’s not enough time and realising that you’re also going to put other people behind as a result. At The Mill people can take their time, have a cup of coffee, have a chat when they feel ready. There is the time and space to take things as they want to.

“For those who are bereaved I think it will make a big difference too. Often in these situations it’s easier to talk to someone who is a little bit distanced from the situation and that’s what we’ll be there to do.

“I’m very excited to be involved with The Mill from the beginning – I’m looking forward to being part of it as it grows and develops and I’m sure becomes a very important part of the local community.”

Michael Reynolds, aged 67, a retired senior manager at BT from Fulwood, is also looking forward to taking up the role.

He said: “I like things to be innovative – looking at issues from a new perspective and working in a different way.

“I also want to be challenged in the role I am doing, and I want to give back to the local community. I saw all of these things in the development of The Mill, which inspired me to get involved.

“I think the concept of The Mill is fantastic, particularly in this day and age. There are so many things going on and so many people who need support, it’s important that we approach things in different ways to reach as many of them as possible.

“I’m looking forward to using skills from my career, from the training we have received, and from my own life experiences to help people; I’m sure it will be very rewarding. The Mill is a great project, set in a lovely, relaxed environment which fits perfectly with the role with we are carrying out. I am looking forward to it opening its doors.”

Stephen Davies, aged 64, who has liver cancer and is currently accessing the support of one of St Catherine’s Hospice’s Clinical Nurse Specialists who visits him at home in Euxton, Chorley, was another of the guests.

He and his wife Lesley said they were delighted to see The Mill ready for business.

“When I started receiving care from St Catherine’s, my whole perception of what a hospice is was changed,” he said.

“I’d believed they were bleak and depressing places. But I’ve had my eyes completely opened – now I know they are about making the most of life through help and advice about all sorts of things, not just physical problems.

“I think The Mill will help this even more. People will be able to call in for a coffee and find out more about the hospice and what it’s really like – helping to break down those barriers.

“Lesley and I hope that The Mill becomes a community resource – hopefully the rooms for hire will help with this. There’s all sorts going on there with the various activities and therapies, so who knows? I might have my eyes opened even further still.

“We think it’s a very an imaginative way to raise funds so that the hospice can continue to support local families and patients with a life shortening illness diagnosis.”

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