Two volunteers with learning disabilities have won an award for their work on an end of life care and bereavement project at St Giles Hospice.

James Channon and Simon Cox

Simon Cox, from Lichfield, and James Channon, from Burton, helped to plan and deliver the Living, Dying and Remembering: Supporting people with Learning Disabilities project.

The duo were presented with a One to Watch Award last week at the national Palliative Care for People With Learning Disabilities (PCPLD) Network Linda McEnhill Awards, which are given to people, teams or organisations who have made a positive difference to the experience of death, dying and bereavement of people with learning disabilities.

The project began in June 2020 and is funded by Hospice UK.  It works in partnership with the Lichfield charity Friends 2 Friends along with several other organisations.

Ian Leech, community development manager at St Giles Hospice, said:

“James and Simon have been absolutely brilliant and a pleasure to work with. All of the course participants told us they would remember the input that they had into the project. 

“Undoubtedly, they were the stars of the show and were excellent in their openness, honesty, and sense of humour throughout, while talking about a very difficult subject.”

Ian Leech, St Giles Hospice

As well as helping to his the sessions and checking that information was understandable, Simon and James – who are both members of Friends 2 Friends – also offered their insights during the events, hosted a quiz and answered questions from course members.

Alison Wellon, coordinator of Friends 2 Friends, said:

“Friends 2 Friends is all about inclusion and working together and that’s exactly what Simon and James did.

“They were a bit worried at first that talking about death might be upsetting but they were determined to give it a go anyway and they really enjoyed helping out and making a difference.

“They were excellent and by offering the perspective of people with learning disabilities they made a fantastic contribution.” 

Alison Wellon, Friends 2 Friends

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