Butterfly volunteer team needs public’s help to secure national £25,000 funding

The team behind a new and innovative volunteer project at the Lister, which supports people in the last days of their lives, is competing with charities across the country to gain up to £25,000 from Aviva’s community funding initiative. Aviva is holding an online public vote for the charitable causes that have registered for its annual Community Fund – and the Butterfly volunteers are calling on local people to register their vote by 18 November deadline.

Around 15 to 20 patients facing the end of their life die alone at the Lister each month. The Butterfly project was launched in May 2016, with 17 specially trained volunteers providing companionship for those people who do not have any visitors. The volunteers also help families and carers with support and respite whilst their loved one is dying.

Butterfly project

Eunice Sirkett, the Trust’s lecturer practitioner for end-of-life care, said:

“As of November 2016, the team has grown to 24 volunteers – all of whom come from the local community. Since the start of the project in May 2016, the Butterfly team have provided over 350 hours of support to dying people on the Lister’s wards and their families.

“In order to keep the project running going forward, the Trust’s charity has applied to the Aviva Community Fund for £25,000. If successful, we will use the funding to support and maybe even expand the Butterfly project going forward. This is why we are calling on local people to register their votes by 18 November on Aviva’s dedicated website.”

Butterfly volunteer, Evelyn Peacock said:

“When I visit a patient I try to focus on that person. I do all I can to make sure that they know they are not alone. Sometimes they will talk to me about things that are worrying them – things that they do not feel they can burden their loved ones with. Other times the patient will just lie quietly with their eyes shut and I will hold their hand. It is about being there – it is that simple.”

A second Butterfly volunteer, Ellen Douglas said:

“Being a Butterfly volunteer is such a privilege. I feel it is about being open and doing what I can for that person at the end of their life. Families are hugely appreciative of the service we provide. I often sit with a patient whilst their family or friends take a much needed break from sitting by the bedside – safe in the knowledge that their loved one is not alone.”

Local people wishing to support the Trust’s Butterfly team gain funding from the Aviva Community Fund just need to register their votes on a dedicated website:


It only takes a few minutes to vote and everyone who registers gets 10 votes to cast, all of which can be given to the Butterfly project. The deadline is on 18 November 2016, with the Trust’s charity being informed a few days later as to whether or not it has become a finalist. The eventual winners will be announced by Aviva’s judging panel on 10 January 2017.