New ambassadors will highlight hospice care

Kevin Harney is playing a key role in the new Hospice Ambassador Project
Kevin Harney is playing a key role in the new Hospice Ambassador Project

A NEW team of ambassadors has been appointed by St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Chichester.

From Monday, October 5, to Sunday, October 11, it will be National Hospice Care Week, an awareness and fundraising week involving adult and children’s hospices across the UK.

The annual week of activity aims to raise the profile of hospice care across the UK.

Each year, Hospice UK holds a week of celebration and action, which helps to change people’s perceptions of hospice care. The week is timed to link with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, which is on October 10 this year.

To coincide with this, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, in Grosvenor Road, Chichester, has formed a new team of volunteer hospice ambassador champions, who will be spreading the word about its services and work in the local area.

The ambassadors will deliver short presentations to local groups and companies highlighting the hospice’s work, the importance of planning end-of-life care and the involvement of the local community.

Kevin Harney from Southbourne is playing a key role in promoting this new Hospice Ambassador Project, giving his time to champion the ambassador role by approaching local groups to interest them in hosting a presentation.

Kevin became a volunteer in April when the project was in its planning stages and soon became involved in contacting local organisations to offer the talks.

His list of contacts is now growing, as is the team of ambassadors trained.

The initial presentation launched at the hospice on September 7. At the same time, Kevin trained with the hospice’s education department to become an ambassador himself.

His background as a chief executive and regional president for a medical devices company previously took him all over the world and involved public speaking at the highest levels.

His experience also includes technical healthcare planning for every Paralympic Games since Atlanta in 1996, all providing excellent background for his new role as a public speaker for the hospice.

After completing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2013-2014 and with a desire to spend more time closer to home, Kevin wanted to do something positive for the local community.

Kevin strongly believes in the importance of highlighting the hospice’s work and planning for end-of-life care. He had first-hand experience of the impact on his family due to his sister’s death from cancer in 2003 and he become aware of the work of the hospice when it cared for a neighbour.

He said: “There is a tendency not to discuss preparations for this sensitive subject, but talking through the many issues lessens the stress and the burdens for those involved and their families.

“My many years of travel have taught me that anything can happen at any time and it’s best to be prepared.”

The hospice relies on public support to raise 88 per cent of its annual running costs and could not offer its wide range of caring services without its team of volunteers like Kevin.

St Wilfrid’s Hospice must raise significant sums of money each year in order to pay for the care provided free of charge to patients, their family and friends.

There are many ways in which people can get involved and the fundraising team is always happy to help.

If you are interested in hosting a presentation, or volunteering in another way, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 01243 755827.

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