Volunteers’ Week – Alex’s Story

Tuesday 02 June 2015

Volunteering for The Shakespeare Hospice

Complementary Therapy is very popular in the Hospice thanks to the relief from pain and the calmness of mind that it brings. Our volunteers provide a number of treatments, including Reflexology, Reiki and Massage.

Alex Rudkin is one of our Complementary Therapists:


“I have volunteered at the Hospice for 12 years. I donated some items to the Hospice shop and saw a sign asking for aromatherapists. At the time I was just finishing my training so got in touch – it was just a coincidence.

I initially became a Complementary Therapist through my job as a Counsellor. I had some clients who were experiencing body cell memory and I was looking for a way to treat them. I now have counselling clients at the Hospice as well.

Complementary Therapy has helped so many people in the Hospice. We use it to enhance conventional medicine, not as an alternative, and offer a number of different treatments – I offer aromatherapy, reiki, reflexology and guided relaxation.

When you are a patient, touch is always very direct and to do with your illness. Complementary Therapy helps because it is a completely different kind of touch, much more gentle and calming. Relaxation stimulates the immune system and is extremely helpful for the body’s natural healing.

I normally volunteer one day in the Day Hospice and also go out to Hospice at Home patients as they are referred. I have been told by Hospice at Home patients that the treatment is the highlight of their week, something they really look forward to. I often also get the chance to give their carer a treatment, which helps with their role looking after their loved one.

Everybody responds differently to therapies and we tailor the treatment to the individual. A patient who was having chemotherapy found that her white blood cell count was very low. We scheduled reflexology treatments in with her chemotherapy and her count went much higher.

In my counselling role I see patients pre and post bereavement, helping them overcome loss either of a loved one or of their own health, which is a lot tougher than in my private counselling sessions.

Volunteering in the Hospice has been a learning curve, especially in the Day Hospice where I have gained so much knowledge.”


Are you a qualified therapist? We need more therapists to join our team and provide treatments to our patients and carers. If you can help please contact Carole Lomas, Voluntary Services Manager, on CLomas@theshakespearehospice.org.uk.

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