Volunteer News

Volunteer News

Monday, 28 September, 2020

Celebrating National Volunteering Week 21 - 27 September 2020


“Dear Volunteers

The theme for National Volunteer Week 2020 is "Thank you, Volunteers". Something I have learned about our 300+ volunteers in St Francis Hospice is that you are a group of people who do not seek to be thanked. You do what you do out of other motivations: kindness, compassion, empathy, gratitude, and a chance to give back, among others.

This year has been challenging for us all, and we have seen many changes within St Francis Hospice. One thing that has never wavered is the support and commitment of our volunteers. Your flexibility, adaptability, and willingness to help in whatever way needed is highly valued by all our staff, as well as our patients and families.  Due to the particular challenges of COVID-19, I know that not all our volunteers have been able to return to the hospice. We all eagerly anticipate the day when our hospice community can be completely reunited. 

On this occasion, on behalf of all in St Francis Hospice, please allow me to say "thank you" for all the gifts of your time, your talents, and your unique personal qualities that you contribute to enrich our services. Thank you, Volunteers.

Kind regards

Fintan Fagan

Chief Executive Officer”


Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUGpcdoXmik to see our volunteer musicans Brian and Berna singing in our In Patient Unit Garden to our patients. 




Why we volunteer at St Francis Hospice?


Meet Volunteer Alison Cantwell & Buddie the dog. 

When asked would I write a piece on why I volunteer at St Francis Hospice with my Therapy Dog, Buddy, I didn't have to think very hard or for very long.

If you ask any Volunteer at St Francis Hospice why they do what they do, the first and foremost reason is - they simply want to help, for many the Hospice has touched the lives of family members or friends who benefited from it's services and now is time to give a little back, in recognition of the help received in the past.   Patients and visitors often comment on how pleasant the atmosphere is in the Hospice and how caring and helpful everyone is, I think that stems from one simple fact - those of us lucky to work and volunteer there, are there because we really want to, not because we have to.

I am the proud owner of a very gentle and extremely placid black Labrador called Buddy whose sole aim in life seems to be to please others and who simply loves company and attention.  Many years ago, my Vet suggested I have him assessed as a possible Therapy Dog as he felt his temperament really suited that role.  He was assessed by Peata Pet Therapy Ireland (Peata is an Irish Non-profit Organisation for Pets and People, they believe interacting with companion animals will lead to happier healthier lives for all).  Needless to say Buddy sailed through all his tests and received his bright yellow Therapy Dog Identification Coat almost seven years ago now.  My personal choice was to volunteer at St Francis Hospice, my own Dad died from cancer ten years ago and I felt this was where I wanted to be.

Myself and Buddy visit patients at the In-Patient Unit of St Francis Hospice in Raheny every Wednesday evening.  Very often patients are alone when I visit and this affords them and us some quiet time for them to pet Buddy and have a chat about him and the work we do.  We get to know the long stay patients quite well and they really look forward to Buddy's weekly visits.  I like to think our visits bring a little piece of relaxation and comfort - it's very hard to stay stressed when petting a dog, especially when this dog is so capable of turning on all the charm to get even more attention!  Often our conversations drift onto all sorts of topics and I have to say I have had the most meaningful, poignant and interesting chats with patients on all aspects of life, death and everything in between.  People often ask me, how can I do it? Is it not depressing?  With my hand on my heart I can honestly say, no  - it is an honour and a privilege to spend time with patients and their families, I am in awe of their courage and bravery.  I have learned so much from my conversations with them, patients really do talk a lot of sense - nothing is sugar coated when you have a terminal illness and these life lessons are so valuable.  I bow also  to the magnificence and professionalism of the staff who carry out their work with dignity, compassion and good humour.

I am only a small cog in a big wheel that is St Francis Hospice but I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to sit and chat, to listen and in some small way I hope we bring a little comfort to patients, as the saying goes "it's good to talk" but we also laugh, joke and enjoy each other's company - these patients never leave my mind as I leave the Hospice on a Wednesday evening.

Since I started volunteering there hasn't been one week when I came home thinking, I shouldn't be doing this!  It certainly knocks your own priorities into order, we think we have problems until we're faced with the alternative.  Every week I come away feeling enriched, invigorated and very privileged to be afforded this time to be with people at such difficult times in their lives.

Buddy is slowing down a little as the years go on and cannot stand on his hind legs for as long as he used to at patients bed sides but as long as I feel he's able, we'll keep going, he's still got a lot of love to give!

Alison & Buddy.







Investing In Volunteers

Quality Standard in Volunteer Management


We are delighted to announce that St Francis Hospice has been awarded the Investing in Volunteers Accreditation.  This is the Irish & UK quality standard for best practice in volunteer management.

In order to receive this award the volunteer department had to ensure that we met all the practices outlined in the Investing in Volunteers guidelines.  In addition, an assessor spent 4 days interviewing staff, volunteers & board members across both hospices.

This is this the first organisational wide accreditation achieved by the hospice which is a very significant milestone on our 30th Anniversary. Our volunteers play a very important role in enabling St Francis Hospice to provide a high quality of care to patients and families. We could not do our work without them.    This award is for our volunteers as an acknowledgement of the commitment, dedication and support they give to St Francis Hospice.

Fintan Fagan

Chief Executive Officer,

St. Francis Hospice Dublin.


Our Coordinator of Volunteer Services Barbara Kilbride shares her story about supporting and managing the volunteers of St Francis Hospice.

A special thank you to our volunteers Jean Wade (Volunteer Florist), Phyllis Murphy (Volunteer Receptionist) and Mary O’Brien, Joke Jansman (Hospice Day Care Volunteer Artists).

This video was in collaboration with Volunteer Ireland for National Volunteering Week 2018.


Please click on the link below to view.            





Health & Safety Training Workshops for our 310 volunteers play a very important part in our Volunteer Programme here at St Francis Hospice keeping our volunteers, patients and staff safe, but they are also a requirement within Health & Safety legislation. Your cooperation in attending each workshop when due for your role is very much appreciated.

Dates for Fire Safety Training Workshops 2018 are in each Volunteer Reading File. If your name is listed, please add and take note of a date and time that is suited to you in Raheny or Blanchardstown. Fire Training is not site specific.

Invites for all other training workshops for your role will be posted to you with approximately one month’s notice.

Training Workshop



Fire Safety


All On-Site Roles, not Drivers/Bus Escorts/Chapel/Gardeners

Standard Precautions

On Commencement

All except Mite Box Coordinators, CPC Admin,VBSS, Remembrance Service, Library, Education, Chapel

Hand Hygiene Refresher

Every 2 years

All except Mite Box Coordinators, CPC Admin,VBSS, Remembrance Service, Library, Education, Chapel

Manual Handling

On Commencement

All Roles except Chapel

Manual Handling Refresher

Every 3 Years

All roles except Florists, Hand Care, Dog Visits, Musicians, Artists, Life Stories, Receptions, Chapel, CPC Admin, VBSS, Remembrance Service, Library, Education



For SFHD staff looking to volunteer - did you know there are over 3,000 volunteering opportunities currently available on I-VOL, the national database of volunteering, so what are you waiting for? http://volunteering.force.com/OpportunitySearch. Don't forget to check out the Volunteer Marketplace over on LinkedIn for skilled volunteering roles too.

St Francis Hospice Coffee Morning 2020
  • St Francis Hospice Coffee Morning 2020


(01) 8327535
(01) 8327635


(01) 8294000
(01) 8294099

Company Registration No: 153874
Charity Number: CHY10568
Charity Regulatory Authority Number: 20027193


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