ST BARNABAS: Receptionists and volunteers provide vital hospice support

Hugh Lowson
Hugh Lowson
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Our reception is the first part of the hospice our visitors see, and the caring, friendly smiles of our receptionists give the first impression of St Barnabas.

I am exceptionally proud of our reception staff and volunteers, and would really like to tell you all a little more about what they do.

Our reception is open from 9am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

One member of staff and two volunteers staff the desk.

But in total, there are more than 30 reception volunteers, who I admire for the discreet, efficient and sensitive way in which they go about their role.

The reception really is the hub of the hospice – the place from which people go off in their different directions, depending on which part they are visiting.

The receptionists get asked all sorts of questions such as where are the local shops, where can I stay for the night, how do we send a parcel, can I have a map, and so on.

Other tasks include franking letters each day, sometimes thousands in one day, and delivering newspapers to patients on the In-patient Unit and Day Hospice.

They also answer the phones, take people around the building, look after numerous sets of keys, accept donations for the fundraising department and many other tasks.

It can also be a challenging role, especially when visitors are distressed, or when we receive difficult telephone calls, but the receptionists are always there to offer comfort and support, and a cup of tea.

The reception team also get to know our army of volunteers well, because each of them has to sign in and out at reception when they come to spend time at the hospice.

I’m so grateful to the volunteers who so kindly give us their time, we really couldn’t do without them.

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