Cheryl has volunteered as a bereavement counsellor at St Gemma’s for almost five years, providing invaluable support for people with a loved one who is seriously ill or has died.
Cheryl has been volunteering with St Gemma’s for nearly 5 years. Originally she trained as a teacher and then as a counsellor. Cheryl has volunteered in various counselling roles over the last 30 years. She gets a lot out of her volunteer role and enjoys getting to know people and supporting them through a difficult time.
Cheryl supports up to four clients per week with an hour-long session. Sessions have been running on zoom or by phone over the last year. At the first session Cheryl will initially meet up with a client and both will decide whether they feel it would be helpful to continue with counselling. The support involves listening to the clients and supporting them in exploring their grief. Sometimes, the process can be helped with the use of visual or tactile aids such as stones, pen and paper, or other aids to expressing themselves.
Cheryl is looking forward to returning to face-to-face support. However despite this, she sees the positive side to offering online sessions to clients who have issues with accessibility.
As well as group supervision offered by the Hospice, Cheryl has attended a number of training sessions to support her role including a session on Sikh spirituality, rituals and beliefs and more recently on the effect of the pandemic the role of a bereavement counsellor.
Cheryl says “I really enjoy volunteering at St Gemma’s, it’s a good place to volunteer and we are well supported.”