A new service for the people of Abergavenny
A new voluntary community service is starting for the people of Abergavenny and surroundings. Abergavenny Community Health Pastors is a group of volunteers from local churches who have been trained in listening skills, and who are willing to visit those who have serious or life-threatening illnesses to provide spiritual support for them. When a person is ill or dying they might think about what their life means and start asking questions about why this is happening to them or what will happen after they die. Spirituality, or looking for meaning in your life, is a personal thing. For some people it means religious belief, but many believe that spirituality doesn’t have to be religious. For some people, awareness of their own or someone else’s mortality brings questions about life’s meaning and purpose. For others, spirituality might already play an important and guiding role in their life. Religious faith may help some people to make sense of their situation, but others might find that they begin to question the beliefs that they have built their lives on. Having the opportunity to talk about spiritual issues can help sufferers and the people caring for them to feel more at peace and better able to deal with what the future might bring.
Whilst patients in hospital can access hospital chaplaincy services, no such provision exists for those in the community, and this service is designed to fill that gap. (The NHS now officially recommends that patients are offered access to spiritual support as part of the management of their condition.) The service aims to provide a free, compassionate, supportive, non-judgemental listening ear for anyone with serious illness who wants it. Following an initial assessment visit by one of the service organisers (a health professional), a volunteer pastor will visit patients in their homes to simply listen to them and be supportive. Although motivated by Christian faith, the volunteers will not address specifically religious issues unless requested to do so by the patient. The service is organised and supervised by two retired GP’s and a palliative care nurse, and volunteers (who have all been CRB checked) have received training in listening skills and spiritual support, as well standard training in protection of vulnerable adults. It is registered with and supported by Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), and is constituted as a small charity. The contact number is 07543014268, or email email@example.com .