Volunteer Maria Muriel-Sanchez found support at the hospice, and in turn, decided to support others in her community
“It’s really great when you see people making even small steps towards their own goals and keeping their own independence,” says Maria Muriel- Sanchez, a volunteer at St Christopher’s.
Maria has lived in Croydon for 20 years and has a busy life balancing her work as a solicitor at a Law Centre providing legal aid and running her own legal practice. In between, Maria volunteers one day a week as a Living well at Home volunteer for St Christopher’s.
Maria, 52, explains, “I’ve been volunteering with St Christopher’s Living Well at Home Team in Croydon since summer last year. It’s a great initiative to help people under the care of the hospice keep as active as they possibly can, in and around their own homes. Over the course of the visits I really get to know people well and we build up a nice rapport. One gentleman that I visit wanted to build up the strength to be able to walk to his kitchen and then sit at the kitchen table to look out over the garden. It was really nice that we were able to help him do this.
“St Christopher’s took very good care of my husband”
The people I visit are always in charge with what they want to do; they know how they feel and we’re guided by them,” says Maria.
Maria first came into contact with the hospice in 2012. “St Christopher’s took very good care of my husband. There is a great atmosphere about the place and it’s very supportive, which was why my husband asked me to promise to keep in touch with the hospice after he died. Eventually, I came along to a Death Chat session and it turned out to be brilliant, with lots of people in very different situations but all with an understanding of how loss can feel. We have some amazing discussions and I find it really helpful.
When I saw that the hospice was looking for volunteers to undertake some training and then go out into the community to help people manage in their homes, I was really keen to get involved. It’s brilliant to be able to support the hospice and help people local to me live a little better.”