A hospice which provides support to people with life limiting illnesses and their families is celebrating a ten year partnership with Bishop Auckland College.

Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland provides counselling and palliative day care to patients with a progressive diagnosis, as well as outpatients and home care services for local people in the surrounding areas including Weardale, Teesdale and Sedgefield.

The hospice has worked closely with the college for the past decade, with its counselling staff all trained and qualifying there. The college also provides trainee counsellors currently studying for their Foundation Degree in Counselling for its team of volunteers.

Over the past decade Bishop Auckland College tutor Lindsey Moses has taught all three members of the hospice’s Family Support team – Head of Family Support Dianne McKenzie and Counsellors Carol Iveson and Paula Thompson – who have all qualified with a Foundation Degree in Counselling and additional CPD training.

They provide one-to-one counselling to adults, children and young people both pre and post bereavement, and to those whose life or family life is impacted upon by a life threatening or life limiting illness.

Lindsey is a former student of the college too, having completed her Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Counselling before achieving an MA in Counselling at the University of Sunderland in 2003.

She visited the hospice yesterday to see her former students and volunteer counsellors working there towards their foundation degrees.

Dianne said: “Butterwick Family Support has had a good relationship with the counselling department at Bishop Auckland College for many years now. Because we are a charity, a large part of our service is supported by our volunteers.

“Each year we work with the counselling department at the college to recruit trainee counsellors currently studying for their Foundation Degree in Counselling, to join our team of volunteers.

“The benefit to the hospice is that we continue to deliver a high quality and much needed service to our community. The students acquire essential work experience, an opportunity to develop their counselling practice and build on their confidence, all of which prepares them for entry into the counselling arena and seeking employment. Our relationship works well for both parties.”

Debbie Rewcastle, the college’s Learning Area Manager for Health, Social Care, Children and Young People’s Services, added: “Butterwick Hospice provides much needed support to many people at a time of great need and we have enjoyed an excellent relationship over the past decade, both training its counsellors and arranging volunteer placements for our students. We look forward to a continued close partnership with this superb facility.”

The charity also has a children’s hospice and an adult in-patient facility in Stockton. Services are provided at no cost to patients and clients, supported by extensive fundraising. Anyone wanting to offer support by donating goods, services or money can contact Butterwick Hospice on (01388) 603003.