15th Nov 2018

Willow Burn Hospice, a local charity, which provides specialist patient focused palliative and end of life care and support to patients’ families in Derwentside, has recently been awarded the County Durham Volunteering Kite Mark.

Willow Burn Hospice opened in 1989 as a result of two remarkable women, Irene Mortimer and Valerie Davison, identifying a local gap in the provision of hospice care. The service was expanded in 1991 to include in-patient services and up until 2006 these were the only beds available in Durham.  In 2014, Willow Burn opened the ‘Tom Cowie’ Day Hospice, Phase 1 of their 2-stage building project and are celebrating nearly 30 years of high quality care with the recent opening of Phase 2 the Helen McCardle In-Patient Wing

The charity’s team of around 120 volunteers are at the heart of everything they do.

Achievement of the County Durham Volunteering Kite Mark demonstrates that Willow Burn meets standards to overcome barriers to volunteering, and recognises the value of recruiting and retaining volunteers, as set out by Durham Community Action, whose commitment to volunteering is actively underpinned by the County Durham Compact.

The Kite Mark shows an organisation manages a volunteering programme where volunteers receive a high quality, positive volunteering experience.  It will help volunteers to make informed choices when they apply to volunteer, and they can be reassured that Willow Burn have the correct policies and processes in place to offer a rewarding and positive experience.

Wilow Burn’s volunteers are on the front line helping patients in the In Patient Unit and Day Hospice as well as working with families through the counselling and support services on offer.

Abby Thompson, Volunteer Development Manager said, “Durham Community Action were delighted to present Willowburn Hospice with the County Durham Volunteer Kite Mark award. Volunteers from Willowburn Hospice played an active role in giving their views as part of the Kite Mark assessment process. They also felt that through their volunteering roles that they had developed a sense of fulfilment, pride for such a good cause and have learnt how much work is done by Willowburn Hospice.”

Paul Jackson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “We are delighted to achieve the County Durham Volunteer Kitemark as this recognises Willow Burn’s commitment to supporting and valuing our volunteers, providing them with training, support and expenses to help them to continue to undertake this vital work.

“As Willow Burn expands over the next few months, the opportunities for volunteers to get involved in every aspect of our work – whether it be working directly with patients and families, in our cafe or behind the scenes to provide admin support. We have volunteer roles to suit everyone!

“Our volunteers, who come from all walks of life, are dedicated to helping to make a difference to the lives of patients and their families across Derwentside and in doing so, offeri ng support at a most difficult time.  We aim to ensure that everyone who wants to volunteer in this area of work has the support to find an opportunity that is right for them with Willow Burn and will help them to reap the rewards they want to achieve.”

If you are interested in volunteering with Willow Burn please visit their website to see the range of opportunities available ( or contact:

Norah Loftus:       telephone 0770 380 7382        email

Judy Birkenfield:  telephone 0770 383 8974       email                                                                                

< Back to posts



3rd Jun 2019 10:00



7th Jun 2019 09:00