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Marie Curie launches volunteer ‘Helper’ service in Portsmouth

This Volunteers’ Week, Marie Curie wants to thank everyone in Portsmouth that gives the gift of time and makes a difference to the charity.

Over 10,000 people across the UK donate their time, skills and enthusiasm to help the charity support people living with a terminal illness and their families.

Volunteers Week is an annual event celebrating the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. This year, the theme of the week-long celebration from June 1-7 is ‘you make the difference’ and to coincide with this, the charity has announced the launch of its Helper volunteer service to the area.

The Helper service provides trained volunteers who are matched with a person living with a terminal illness to give them and their loved ones companionship, emotional support and practical help. While it has previously been available in other parts of the country, this is the first time that people in Portsmouth have been able to benefit from the service.

Marie Curie Helper volunteers give around three hours a week of their time to offer a friendly ear and the opportunity to talk through any worries. Volunteers also help by providing practical support, information about local services and enabling carers and family members to take a short break.

Rachel Hatcher, Marie Curie Helper Service Manager for Portsmouth, said: "We’re delighted that the Helper service is now available to people across Portsmouth and we would love for people in the area to sign up and become a Helper volunteer. It’s a great local service providing vital one-to-one support to people living with a terminal illness and, in many cases, their families or carers too.

"People can choose how much time they would like to spend with their Helper volunteer – they might just want to chat or there might be something practical the volunteer can help with. The service is entirely based around their needs."

Emma Hamlyn, who has recently signed up as a Marie Curie Helper, said: "With a young family who are now in school full time, I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time now I’m in a position to do so. My friend who passed away from cancer and had multiple sclerosis was also my inspiration for wanting to join Marie Curie.  I have been through cancer myself and throughout my journey I quickly came to realise that not everyone has someone in life they can turn to.

"I think my own experiences not only made me realise that there are a lot of people who need the support of someone from an organisation such as Marie Curie, it also gave me an appreciation of the pressures and strains of carers and the importance of giving them a bit of time out too. I’m looking forward to making a difference, in whatever way I can to both my client and their carers."

To find out more about becoming a Marie Curie Helper volunteer in Portsmouth please email portsmouth.helper@mariecurie.org.uk or call free 0800 304 7023 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

For more information about Marie Curie Helper visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/helper.

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