Mandy's story: Being a Volunteer Hairdresser at LOROS

Volunteer

Everyone knows that having your hair done makes you feel good. That’s why when volunteer hairdressers visit our patients on the Ward it cheers everyone up! Here we share Mandy's story and the real impact of volunteers on our patients.

Mandy Riches, 53 from Coalville volunteers as a hairdresser at LOROS Hospice.

She trained as a hairdresser after leaving school and worked as a stylist for 15 years before teaching hairdressing at college. After having kids and working as a primary school teacher she gave up work for a while.

“It was a couple of my friends who had relatives being cared for in a hospice, who made me think of it first. They mentioned how much it meant to have your hair done when you’re bed bound. I remembered how much I loved hairdressing and I was looking to use my skills for something fulfilling. I didn’t have any particular connection to LOROS but I saw an ad on the website and gave them a ring.

“I’ve been volunteering since 2015 now. I used to operate from a tiny cupboard off the Ward but now the Hospice has expanded there’s a proper salon space with sinks, which is great.

“I wash patients’ hair which feels really nice. Cut fringes, trim the ends. Patients feel they are themselves again. They love to chat to me as well, and they are so appreciative, so grateful. They just don’t expect it. And a salon is always private space for people to talk, whether they’re ill or not.

“Of course some patients are very frail, and I adapt what I can do to fit in with them. I keep checking in with them, keep asking them if they’re comfortable.

“LOROS is about so much more than people at end of life.

“I would whole heartedly recommend volunteering as a hairdresser here. Knowing you’re bringing a bit of pleasure to patients - I find it so rewarding.”

Helen Menna is a Healthcare Assistant on the LOROS Ward. She agrees that hairdressing has a massive impact on patients. “It just lifts people. They always feel better and it can make a big difference to their mood. It’s not just the ladies either, a lot of the gentlemen really appreciate it too. Sometimes I’ll walk around the Ward and ask if anyone would like their hair trimming and they all reply ‘oh yes’, and look really pleased at the thought of it.

“If the patients are well enough we take them down to the salon in Day Therapy. If not, we prop them up with towels and Mandy just snips round them.

“Once they’ve had their hair cut, all us nurses comment ‘oh your hair looks lovely’ and hopefully that makes them feel even better.”

If you could spare a few hours to make our patients feel special please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you loros.co.uk/volunteer

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