Local volunteers making a real difference to cancer patients and their loved ones




June 1st, 2022 sees the start of volunteering week in the UK. To celebrate the very special people who give up their time to make a difference to patients and their families, the Cancer Alliance would like to shine a light on a fantastic volunteer service that is making a real difference to the experience of cancer patients and their loved ones in North Tees and Hartlepool.

The service is run by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust from their Cancer Information Centre. Starting in February 2021 as a pilot scheme during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it deployed existing volunteers into new virtual roles to support cancer patients and was launched in conjunction with the National Cancer Programme.

How does the service work?

Trained volunteers can chat to anyone affected by cancer. This might be a patient undergoing cancer treatment, or a family member or friend having a hard time coming to terms with a loved one’s diagnosis. The ‘catch up call’ provides the opportunity to have a non-medical chat and allows cancer patients and their loved ones to receive emotional support from the comfort of their homes.

Celebrating the work of the volunteers

Alan Chandler, Macmillan information and survivorship manager at the trust, said: “Providing the comfort call service has been a real success. Patient feedback has been very positive, and our volunteers really enjoy making the calls. Patients tell us that they really welcome the opportunity to have a chat with the volunteers to take their mind off things”.

“Our volunteers are amazing people and are at the heart of everything we do. Without their dedication and commitment, we could not provide our current level of service. “If anyone feels they would benefit from a call, please do get in touch.

Get involved in volunteering

If you’re interested in volunteering for this service or other volunteering roles with the trust please visit their volunteer page or get in touch with the volunteering team on 01642 383933 or nth-tr.volunteersnth@nhs.net