A charity that provides one-to-one comfort and companionship to people nearing the end of their life in hospital has received £95,000 of National Lottery funding.

The Anne Robson Trust was launched in memory of their namesake after sadly dying alone unbeknownst to her family in 2010.

The charities Butterfly Volunteer’s at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) was shortlisted for the Enhancing Patient Dignity Award 2019 by the Nursing Times.

Liz Pryor, founder of Anne Robson Trust, said: “We are extremely excited to receive transformational funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

“We are a small, but rapidly growing charity, and are keen to expand our work across the East of England and beyond.

“Providing support to patients in the last days of life is so important – and we will make it our mission to give company, care and compassion to as many people as we can in the years to come. No one should die alone.”

Working with projects based across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, the grant will provide the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

There are now over 100 Butterfly Volunteers across the east of England, with plans to expand to more NHS Trusts in 2020.

Evelyn Peacock, aged 62, a Butterfly Volunteer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital since 2016, said:

“I have wanted to provide companionship to people who were at the end of their life and alone in hospital.”

“I will always remember one lady that I spent time with. Even though she couldn’t speak, I could tell she was frightened about being in hospital.

“She died two days later - I’m glad I was able to treat her with dignity and make her feel safe when I was with her.”

“I’m glad we can also provide support and respite to families, who appreciate that we are there and able to pop in and see their loved ones.”

“I feel very privileged to be a Butterfly Volunteer and to sit with those who would otherwise be alone."

Jon Eastwood, senior head of Regional Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted to fund the Anne Robson Trust, which recognises the positive impact of volunteering within hospitals.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, the organisation will be able to expand its current provision into more hospitals and build up a bigger volunteering base.

“This will help to reduce isolation and loneliness for those who need it most.”

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