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Volunteer News

Volunteer News

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019


Volunteer Long Service Awards 2019

This year’s Volunteer Long Service Awards were held on Thursday 16 May, during National Volunteer Week 13-19 May, in St Francis Hospice Raheny.

The volunteers and their guests were warmly greeted by our Chief Executive Officer, Fintan Fagan, who thanked the volunteers for their dedication and commitment to St Francis Hospice. Chairman Mr Dermot McCarthy, Sr Margaret Cashman, DON, Sr Patricia Walsh, ADON & Dr Regina McQuillan, Director of Medicine presented the awards after a recognition presentation by Barbara Kilbride, Coordinator Volunteer Services. Refreshments afterwards gave an opportunity for staff to congratulate the volunteers on this wonderful milestone.

5 Year Awards: Joan Bickford, Ciunas Bunworth, Jennifer Byrne, Declan Carroll, Jacinta Conefrey, Brid Conneely, Sr Elizabeth Crehan, Dorothea Farrell, Klara Finkele, Myles Fitzgerald, John Gray, Denis Headon, Carmel Healy, Tony Maycock, Mary McCourt, Kevin McDonnell, Maria McEvoy, Maureen McLarnon, Tom McManus, David O'Connor, Eamon O'Doherty, Brendan O'Laoire, Finbarr O'Sullivan, Ann Sheeran, Catherine Vaughan. 

10 year Awards: Mick Corry, Susan Cummins, John Duffy, Dolores Fogerty, Joe Hilliard, Mairin Jenkins, Pauline Lambert, Maureen McAuliffe, Claire McGann, Aubrey Moriarty, Mary Moynihan, Frank Nolan, Dermot O'Brien, Mary O'Sullivan, Mary Wherity. 

15 Year Awards: John Cahill, Chris Cooke, Des Nix.

20 year awards: Eithne Copeland, Maureen Galvin, Mary Plunkett

30 years awards: Pat Breslin, Anne Langan

On behalf of the volunteer department: Barbara Kilbride & Brenda Lowry would like to extend our congratulations to all the volunteers receiving Long Service Awards.  Thank you for your continuous commitment and dedication to St Francis Hospice.


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.    


St Francis Hospice Dublin

Bereavement Support Volunteers Required


The role: Volunteer Bereavement Support Service (VBSS)

Our bereavement volunteers provide a confidential space for bereaved adults to share their grief experiences and their challenges of living with loss, in a safe, supportive environment.  The role is a confidential one to one listening service that will be held on Tuesday evenings in St Francis Hospice Blanchardstown.


All bereavement volunteers will receive a comprehensive bereavement-training programme and ongoing supervision to support them in their role of Bereavement Volunteer. This is a wonderful opportunity to support your community and develop new skills.

How do I get more information?

We will hold an open evening on Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 6.30pm in St. Francis Hospice, Blanchardstown to talk more about the role and answer any questions you may have. We would encourage all volunteers interested in applying to attend this event.

How do you apply to become a VBSS volunteer?

If you would like to apply to become a Bereavement Volunteer, or seek further information please contact Kate Diamond, Bereavement Project Lead at 01 8294000 or

Please note that this role cannot run in conjunction with another St Francis Hospice volunteer role.



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



A huge welcome goes to our newest volunteers: 

Jennifer Coleman          Hospitality Day Care Raheny

Pat Queenan                 Hospitality IPU Blanchardstown

Mary Monahan              Reception Raheny     

Marie Norton                 Gardener IPU Blanchardstown

Anita Muldoon               Hairdresser IPU Blanchardstown

Mary Cullen                   Reception Blanchardstown

Máire McDermott           Hospitality IPU Blanchardstown

Jim Nunan                     Driver Out-Patients Raheny

Isabelle Dunne              Hospitality IPU Blanchardstown

Mary Johnston               Admin CPC Blanchardstown

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? Don't forget to check out the Volunteer Marketplace over on LinkedIn for skilled volunteering roles too.


(01) 8327535
(01) 8327635


(01) 8294000
(01) 8294099

Registered Charity Number: CHY 10568


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