John Bell – Palliative Care Volunteer – Yoga Instructor

What volunteering work do you do for Foyle Hospice?

John Bell - Palliative Care VolunteerI teach chair based yoga similar to what I teach in the studio – I carry the message of yoga which means body, mind, spirit and emotions. Every Tuesday I spend 45 minutes with the Day Hospice patients encouraging them to think of themselves, so that they are taking care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally by incorporating visualisation and where possible movement. A lot of what the patients learn they can practice at home and for some it has made a difference to their independence and confidence.

What encouraged you to volunteer?

I’ve been volunteering in different places for 12 years because I feel it’s important to help others. I started in the hospice around February time this year after Teresa McGowan, the Day Hospice Manager approached me. Teresa heard that I had been working with a patient at home and in the In-Patient Unit and asked me to teach the patients in Day Hospice. In fact I completed my teacher training in the hospice many years ago and it’s amazing to think that now the hospice and patients trust me with such a privileged role.

John hosting of his palliative care yoga classes

What does your volunteering work mean to you?

I can honestly say working with the patients adds to my life.  I feel real gratitude when I’ve been to the hospice it lifts me and humbles me. The patients are simply amazing and hearing what they get out of their practice keeps me coming back.  They describe feelings of freedom, inner peace, calmness, relaxation and independence.  The people that I meet at the hospice, patients and staff, add to my practice.

To learn how you can make a difference to someone’s life simply call Sharon Williams, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Foyle Hospice on (028) 71 351010 or visit the website:

Visit one of The Palliative Hub websites today