Macmillan Caring Locally Honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

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Christchurch-based charity, Macmillan Caring Locally, has received The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. For its outstanding work within the community, Macmillan Caring Locally will be decorated with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The award will be presented to Macmillan Caring Locally by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done within the community. Created in 2002, the award is considered equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups. It is awarded to voluntary organisations which provide social, economic or environmental service to the local community.

The work of Macmillan Caring Locally’s long-service volunteers has been previously recognised by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset who invites long service volunteers to attend the Queen’s Garden Party each year.

The Macmillan Unit provides specialist end of life care to people across Dorset and Hampshire regardless of their diagnosis. The charity Macmillan Caring Locally supports the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital, working in partnership with the NHS. The service supports over 1600 patients with life-limiting illnesses a year, 158 patients attended the Day Centre last year and nearly 900 patients are supported in the wider community. The volunteers provide vital support in roles such as patient transport, gardeners, charity shop assistants, fundraising as well as more specialist roles including Community visitors and End of Life volunteers who sit with patients in the last days of life who might otherwise be alone, also providing respite and support to family members.

These volunteers contribute enormously to the emotional well-being of patients and their families. Their kindness and skills help relieve staff from time restricting responsibilities, allowing them to focus their attention on nursing. The close work between the staff and the volunteers ensures that the Macmillan Unit is able to provide high quality care at the end of a person’s life. Volunteers regularly visit patients to keep them company and ensure they are not passing away alone. By visiting patients at home, volunteers reduce social isolation, support carers and lift spirits.

Charlie, whose mum used the services of the Macmillan Unit, shares his story: “I want to share one small story with you all.  They suggested that Dad and I left Mum's room to take a break and grab a cup of tea.  Mum was no longer able to talk and was lapsing in and out of consciousness.  When I returned, 20 minutes or so later, I found two volunteers in her room chatting, including mum in a three-way conversation over nothing in particular.  The amazing thing is that they didn't see a cancer patient who was dying, they just saw my Mum.  And that is what makes them special”.

Neal Williams, Trust Secretary of Macmillan Caring Locally, added: “We are immensely proud of our volunteers and the outstanding work they do at the Macmillan Unit and in our community. We are thrilled they are being honoured with this prestigious award which is so richly deserved, and we would like to congratulate them and thank them for the support they give our patients, our patients’ families and our staff.”

It is important to note that Macmillan Caring Locally are not part of the national Macmillan Cancer Support and receive no funding from them.

For more information about Macmillan Caring Locally visit www.macmillanlocal.org

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