Chiltern District Council Chairman Mimi Harker OBE is to become a patron of The South Buckinghamshire Community Hospice and the ‘face of volunteering’ for the charity, it has been revealed.
She will help lead the Hospice into a new era when she steps down in May as council chairman, a role she has held for the last two years.
The newly-built South Buckinghamshire Community Hospice is shortly opening at Butterfly House, a £4.8m building, and Cllr Harker will be helping to recruit the army of volunteers needed to support nurses and staff who care for patients with life-limiting illnesses.
“I was so honoured and humbled to be asked to do this because the Hospice is incredibly important to people in South Bucks,” said Cllr Harker, a mother-of-two who has been a councillor in Chiltern since 1999.
“I was absolutely blown away by the wonderful new building and I am full of admiration for Chief Executive Officer Jo Woolf and her team who have watched their dream come true brick by brick, day by day.”
She added: “I am very excited at the prospect of taking on this role because I have so much respect for Jo’s belief in how Hospice care should be delivered. I feel a strong empathy with the passion behind her ethos in delivering care to people at such a vulnerable time in their lives.
“The Hospice care is so very different from the norm, because it’s very holistic and takes into account every aspect of the human being. It’s not just about their physical health; the Hospice prioritises the palliative mental health and well-being and ensures that their families also receive the help care and love they need.”
Jo Woolf said: “We are overjoyed to have such a distinguished and energetic personality join our team as patron. Mimi has been a fantastic local servant for the public in her area and I have no doubt she will be a wonderful asset to the Hospice and its patients.”
“I have asked Mimi to become our face of volunteering for us because we need the public to support our team in providing the care so many patients and their families require. Less than 3% of our funding comes from the Government and we raise the rest of the money ourselves just to pay for the day-to-day services. This is why we are reliant on the stewardship and goodwill of volunteers.”
The news of Mimi Harker’s involvement comes a few months after Wycombe MP Steve Baker was unveiled as a Hospice patron. Mrs Woolf said another extremely well-known local person would shortly be announced as the charity’s third high-profile patron.
Meanwhile, Cllr Harker urged the public to join her by becoming a volunteer.
“Even if you have as little as two hours a week to spare, we’d love to hear from you,” she said. “There are numerous roles here such as drivers, gardeners, collection boxes collectors, receptionists or simply for people who do the meeting and greeting.
“Moving forward, it’s really important that, in general, people’s attitude to end-of-life care changes. It has to be something we can talk about because if we cannot talk about it we cannot get the best outcome for patients.”
* If you want to join the Hospice team as a volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494 464045