Lorna’s crucial role at LauraLynn

by Ian Begley
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VOLUNTEERS play a crucial role in the day-to-day running of LauraLynn’s children’s hospice and are needed in many areas, such as helping out with fundraising events, interacting with children and their families and assisting the clinical care team.
The hospice provides support throughout a child’s life and offers a variety of care for children with life-limiting conditions.
Lorna Collins, the volunteer coordinator of LauraLynn, spoke to The Gazette this week about what a day in her life is like.
“I started working here last February and it’s a relatively new, full-time job. I used to work in a very similar role for about nine years, so I’ve fitted in very nicely here. Basically, my job involves looking after our team of volunteers, which amounts to about 120 at the moment.
“I’m officially here five days a week and am always up and down from my desk throughout the day.
“I have to meet the volunteers each day and make sure they’re happy. Most would do a two-hour shift, and I would meet up and see how they’re doing throughout the day.
“Some of the volunteers are called activity assistants and would start the day with ‘circle-time activities’, which involves a lot of fun and games. When the kids are up and out of bed, we start their day with lots of songs and dancing.
“The volunteers then read the kids stories, and help them do arts and crafts. They also assist the clinical staff and basically just keep the kids entertained throughout the day. Their job is to make sure LauraLynn is a really fun place and to make the children’s stay feel like a holiday.
“I would interact with kids on a regular basis, but mainly do the same role as the volunteers. The clinical team look after their clinical needs and the volunteers provide a source of entertainment and help the staff keep the energy levels high.
“I have a nine-to-five job, but the volunteers here start from 9am-8pm and also work weekends too.
“It can be a new and daunting experience for some of them when they first arrive, so I have to make sure they’re okay and having fun.
“I’ve a few students in with me today who are making cloud props to teach the children about the weather, so it’s all very hands-on.
“We have many outings and events during the weekend as well, and the volunteers often dress up as superheroes and Disney characters. If needs be, I’ll also throw on a costume as well.”
For more information about how to volunteer at Lauralynn, see
www.lauralynn.ie.

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