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Ashgate Hospice > How volunteering at Ashgate Hospice transformed Trina’s life and career

A therapist says volunteering for Ashgate Hospice boosted her career and helped her overcome a fear of dying.

Counselling and trauma therapist, Trina Parker, started volunteering at the hospice’s bereavement group 13 years ago on a placement to achieve her counselling qualifications.

She led the group for around seven years, helping hundreds of people to talk about the death of loved ones with others.

Thanks to her ambition and the invaluable experience gained at Ashgate Hospice, she now runs her own practice and is embarking on an exciting new counselling role in the military.

“I’ve always been interested in death and dying, because I used to be very scared of it,” said Trina, 51.

“I learnt that not everyone gets a peaceful death, but at Ashgate they do everything they can to make that possible.

“I don’t have any fear about death now and learnt that it can be beautiful.

“Volunteering at Ashgate Hospice gave me the confidence to know that I can work with both people who are bereaved and in emotional pain, and it worked around the rest of my life and allowed me to do further study.”

Trina stepped down from her voluntary role in March after being offered a new job in the military. Her focus will be on supporting former bomb disposal workers who have gone through trauma, but she explained there is also the potential to support police officers who have killed someone while on duty.

In the bereavement group, Trina facilitated conversations for bereaved partners and family members to discuss their experiences and supported them to talk about the future.

She said: “There was nothing out of bounds to talk about. People often feel very guilty for looking ahead, so we’d look at coping strategies.

“A lot of assumptions get made about grief; it’s important to understand that not everyone will have the same reaction and that there is no right or wrong.

“In the bereavement groups people could be sad and emotional, but there were real moments of joy and laughter too.

“One man said that having his wife cared for at Ashgate restored his faith in humanity.

“I think the biggest thing that stands out for me is the difference the group makes to individuals, especially those who may be alone or isolated.

“It’s been lovely to support partners and families, not just while their loved one is here, but beyond that. I got so much from volunteering for Ashgate Hospice.”

We’re here to help. If you need to get in touch or want to find out more about our counselling services, visit the Counselling Services page. You can also find out more about our volunteering opportunities.