Date published: 31 May 2019 by Anna Jackson
To mark Volunteers Week which starts on 1 June, Bournemouth resident Ruth Hunter is looking forward to a two-night stay at a hotel in recognition of her dedication volunteering for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.
Former primary school teacher Ruth is a Rainbow Trust Family Support Volunteer who dedicates between four and six hours each week to supporting families who are supported by the charity’s Southampton Care Team, which covers Dorset; Hampshire; West Sussex, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.
“It came as a total surprise to be given such a fantastic award by Rainbow Trust and the charity’s partner, Room for Reward. I almost deleted the email telling me I’d won as I assumed it was spam! It is so lovely to feel appreciated and I am very excited to spend a weekend away with my husband Andy and daughter Flossie.”
Rainbow Trust enables families who have a child with a life-threatening illness to make the most of their time together. It provides expert practical and emotional support, wherever possible, for as long as it is needed. Rainbow Trust pairs each family with an expert Family Support Worker who becomes a trusted and constant person in family life.
Ruth continues: “I find volunteering each week for Rainbow Trust extremely rewarding. I am an experienced primary school teacher and also hold counselling and child-minding qualifications, so when I heard about Rainbow Trust and the work they do it really struck a chord. I am a small cog and it is human nature to always feel as though I could do more, but this award makes me realise that the little bit of support I provide to families at a time of enormous stress does make a difference and is appreciated.”
Ruth’s focus is primarily on sibling support for the families she works with, such as three-year-old Pearl Hugill from Portsmouth.
Eleanor McDonald, a Family Support Worker in the Southampton Care Team said: “Ruth has the perfect skill set for this role and thoroughly deserves this award. She has empathy, patience and sensitivity, but above she provides a non-judgemental independent pair of ears for both parents and children at a very difficult time. For example, spending time each week playing with Pearl either at the park or in a local play centre means that her mum can spend vital quality time with her sick son and speak frankly with doctors and caregivers without Pearl in earshot.”
Ruth said: “I thoroughly enjoy the time I spend helping local families that are coping with a seriously ill child and highly recommend volunteering for Rainbow Trust. Even a small amount of time can make a big difference. The volunteering hours are flexible to suit the time you have available and the training and support are second to none. Plus, I know there is always someone at the end of the phone if I need to ask for advice which is very comforting.”