Volunteering doesn’t come much more worthwhile than helping someone through a life changing cancer diagnosis, and that is just what volunteers at Recovery Haven do every day. The centre was set up five years ago by nurse Marian Barnes who saw a need for cancer support for her clients, and over the last five years the centre welcomed over 950 clients, the families and carers. Support at Recovery Haven ranges from simply listening and advising to specialised counselling, therapies and activities designed to help clients on their cancer journey. And the benefits are clear.
“The main thing I find is it’s a break away from the norm, they can come in and it’s somewhere just to relax unwind, they can have their counselling sessions, they can have their therapies, and equally they can just come in here have a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat with one of the listeners,” Kenneth Reynolds of Recovery Haven revealed. “With so much going on in their personal lives and what they are going through, it’s somewhere- essentially a haven to get a break away and unwind for a couple of hours whenever they need it,” he added.
Therapies available on site include Indian Head Massages and Reiki and Mindfulness, all provided through volunteer therapists. Volunteers at the centre also provide a range of classes like yoga, pilates, card and jewellery making as well as a gardening and walking group. With just two part time workers the Recovery Haven is hugely dependent on the good will, time and expertise of it’s volunteers, and its 70 plus volunteers currently involved across all aspects of its service.
Among the volunteering opportunities are the centre’s volunteer listening support service. “When a client comes in, the listener would be the first port of call. They will guide them in the right direction whether they felt they needed counselling or they needed therapies. They would try to tailor a package that would suit the client,” Kenneth explained. Equally important to the running of the service is the 10 member external fundraising committee.
Volunteers at Recovery Haven come from all different walks of life. “A lot of people who have been through it themselves, which helps because they can relate to the person and they know what they are going through. But sometimes it is someone who just wants to help out, they could be from a nursing background, a social care background, from any time of walk of life and they just want to help. They might have heard of the service or had a friend who used it,” Kenneth explained.
Volunteers can offer as much or as little time as they can spare: “We can’t be picky, it’s their own time, it’s when they can do it. We have stuff going on all the time and there is something to suit everyone.” Anyone interested in getting involved can simply call in, the centre is open from Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm, opening late on Wednesdays until 7pm.
“There is always one of us here to show them around. I always think it is easier to see the place than to try and to talk about the place over the phone, you get a much better grasp and you can see what you do,” Kenneth explained.
“Whether it is a volunteer or a client it’s the same message really- just walk away in the door that’s what we are here for,” he added. “Sometimes that’s the hardest thing for people, getting the confidence to come in the door. But once they are here we can sit down have a cup of tea, a chat and take it from there,” Kenneth concluded. For further information on Recovery Haven and services it provides pop into the centre in Haig’s Terrace Tralee, call 066 7192122 or log on to: http://www.recoveryhavenkerry.com.