Volunteer therapists wanted at St Richard’s Hospital

Tracy Gibbon, a voluntary therapist at the Fernhurst Centre, St Richard's Hospital, Chichester
Tracy Gibbon, a voluntary therapist at the Fernhurst Centre, St Richard's Hospital, Chichester

THE LOVE of helping those who need support and therapy has been highlighted to get more people involved in life-improving care.

Tracy Gibbons, from Birdham, is a professional therapist and volunteers at St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, on Fridays to offer complementary therapy to people who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis.

“I think I just love doing it,” she said.

“The patients love the treatment. They feel the benefits.

“It’s great to work in that situation where there’s a tremendous amount of anxiety and you can help them to try to relax and help them to feel more positive.”

The NHS approves different types of complementary therapy, including aromatherapy, Bach flower remedies, Indian head massage, massage, reflexology, Reiki, relaxation and T’ai Chi Chih.

Tracy first got involved a couple of years ago and has not looked back since.

“It’s great to offer emotional support and encourage relaxation for the parents and their families,” she said.

“I enjoy giving back to the community and supporting my local hospital.

“I feel respected and valued as a complementary therapy volunteer.

“It is a privilege to care for others and be trusted when people are feeling vulnerable and have emotional challenges.

“My colleagues and the staff at the Fernhurst Centre are great. It can be challenging and sad, but we do also have fun.”

She said the service was flexible with timing, meaning she could work in volunteering around her job.

Also, she said patients often appreciated having a more relaxed treatment, particularly if they were undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy at the same time.

The complementary therapies aim to offer relaxation and reduce anxiety.

According to the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the therapies ‘may help to alleviate symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, pain and nausea among others’.

The therapies are designed to go alongside ongoing medical care.

The complementary therapy service is attached to the Macmillan cancer support service at St Richard’s.

The team is desperately looking for new volunteer therapists, in particular aromatherapists.

Anyone who thinks they might be able to help should contact Helen Fowler, manager of Macmillan information and support service at the foundation trust.

Call 01243 831727 or 01243 788122 (ext 5423).