Meet Allie, Children's Team Volunteer | The Hospice of St. Francis

Meet Allie, Children's Team Volunteer

"We're all here because we care"

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“This is better than any job I’ve ever had. From the moment I arrived it felt like such a welcoming, homely experience. We work with children who have suffered bereavement or are likely to, giving them the opportunity to explore that for themselves. Sometimes they need to have their own space to grieve, separately from their family. It’s so important to let them have their voice and be heard.”

“We offer them space to explore it however they want, using arts and crafts and toys and games. Sometimes you talk about it openly and directly. Sometimes you talk about it through the game and through play, and never actually say the words.”

“For the first couple of sessions, you’re building a relationship. The child has to trust you. We’ll start by getting to know each other a little bit, playing games where you find out each other’s favourite colour or TV show. The training is invaluable. You don’t need to be a counsellor to do this – anyone who cares can do this.”

“In a session, there may be a period of time where we can sit and talk about the sadness and deal with that. And then we’ll have a game and a good old laugh. And usually drop loads of paint on the floor or something. We often make a lot of mess in my sessions.”

“One child was becoming quite unsettled before her father’s funeral. So we used Playmobil toys to play out what a funeral looks like so it wouldn’t be completely new to them. They had space to ask questions and to deal with it in their own way.”

“We’re all here because we care. And that makes it so incredibly special. I’ve never been anywhere like it. It’s inspiring to be part of something that cares so much and does so much good. Everyone puts in absolutely everything they can. No one is going, ‘Oh, well. I’ll just put in my hours and get out of here and not really put much effort in.’ Their heart and soul go into this place. And you can feel it. Truly.”