Furniture collection with compassion
For our friendly team of drivers who carry out furniture collection from people’s homes so it can be sold in our charity shops, it’s a job that involves more than the muscle they use to do the heavy lifting.
With six years’ service, Mark Stansbury is the longest-serving van driver in the collection team covering Plymouth, South West Devon and East Cornwall. During that time he has visited hundreds of homes across these areas, picking up furniture from people not only keen to clear space in their houses but to support local hospice care, too.
“I often hear anecdotes that highlight the great compassion and respect St Luke’s has for everyone in their care.”
One of seven drivers in the team, he said: “Not everyone we collect from has had personal experience of St Luke’s, but many have. It is always heart-warming when they share their memories of a family member or friend looked after by the hospice team, and I often hear anecdotes that highlight the great compassion and respect St Luke’s has for everyone in their care.
“Sometimes – particularly if the person has recently been bereaved – you can see them struggling emotionally. I’m prepared for that and mindful that the items they’re donating might have belonged to the person who has died.
“Recently, my colleague Bob and I made a call to a man in Ivybridge. Straight away, I could see he was upset, and when he explained that his mother had died just a few days before and that he had the difficult job of clearing out her house before the owner wanted it back, my heart went out to him.
“I listened as he spoke very movingly about his mum and how well she had been looked after by St Luke’s, first at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and then at home, where she passed away. We had a bit of general chat, too, and by the time we left him, I could see his spirits lifting.
“The aftercare our charity provides is there to make sure people who are grieving have the listening ear and emotional support they need.”
“I didn’t want to leave it there, though, because it was obvious he was going through a very difficult time. The aftercare our charity provides is there to make sure people who are grieving have the listening ear and emotional support they need. So, I spoke about it with my manager Becky Lugg and with Retail Area Manager John Saunders and we were able to arrange for a colleague from St Luke’s Social Care team to get in touch with him.
“It felt good knowing I’d helped, not only in a practical way by collecting the furniture but by showing him some kindness and reminding him that he wasn’t alone.”
St Luke’s furniture collection service is available between 9am and 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Click here for booking details.