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Volunteer




 

The care of supported Pilgrims is provided by a diverse helper team.  Please click on the heading below or scroll down to the appropriate group/category to see more information:

Lady Helpers

Male Helpers

Medical Helpers

Clergy

Suitability

Preparation

Health & Safety Policy

If you are interested in volunteering for any of the roles listed below, or if you simply would like to ask questions, please get in touch via the Contact Us page.

Lady Helpers

The Lady Helpers form the biggest group of helpers and fulfil an essential role on the pilgrimage.  Our team of Lady Helpers is made up of women from all walks of life.  They generally perform a range of non-clinical care to sick Pilgrims from around our Archdiocese, who stay in the St Frai Centre in Lourdes .  This includes tasks like:

  • Assisting sick pilgrims with washing, dressing and feeding

  • Cleaning wards

  • Taking pilgrims out to ceremonies, a cafe, or shopping

  • Liaising with the doctors and other helpers

  • Supporting sick pilgrims

  • Making tea and coffee

  • Helping to serve food in the refectory

  • Participating in the full range of pilgrimage activities - Masses, Ceremonies, Processions and social gatherings

 

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Male Helpers

Male helpers (or "Brancardiers" to use the French term) are involved in a range of duties and are primarily called on to perform the more physical/active tasks depending on ability.  Brancardiers work primarily with sick pilgrims from our own Archdiocese, who stay in the St Frai Centre in Lourdes.  Their duties may include:

  • Pushing wheelchairs

  • Pulling 'voitures' (special carriage for sick pilgrims)

  • Assisting male pilgrims with washing, dressing and feeding as required

  • Taking pilgrims out to ceremonies, a cafe, or shopping

  • Supporting sick pilgrims

  • Working an occasional night shift

  • Participating in the full range of pilgrimage activities - Masses, Ceremonies, Processions and social gatherings

 

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Medical Helpers

Doctors and Nurses form a vital part of the helper team.  Our medical team consists of qualified registered doctors, nurses and Auxiliary/Domestic staff.  Our team provides the highest quality of clinical and personal care to sick Pilgrims from around our Archdiocese, who stay in the St Frai Centre in Lourdes.  Their duties may include:

  • Assisting sick pilgrims with clinical needs and personal care needs

  • Administering medication

  • Taking pilgrims out to ceremonies, a cafe, or shopping

  • Liaising with other helpers

  • Supporting sick pilgrims

  • Working occasional night shifts

  • Participating in the full range of pilgrimage activities - Masses, Ceremonies, Processions and social gatherings

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Clergy

Clergy are a key part of the Pilgrimage and are involved in a wide range of tasks such as saying Mass (or concelebrating during Mass), ministering to Pilgrims and participation in other ceremonies and events.  If you are interested in joining us please get in touch and we will put you in contact with the Pilgrimage Director.

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Suitability

Generally, helpers should be reasonably fit and in good health in order to cope with the demands of being a volunteer helper on pilgrimage.

In addition, the organising committee has a responsibility to ensure that all helpers are suitable.  The assessment of this suitability generally consists of the following components:

  • Volunteers apply to be helpers by completing an application form

  • References are taken up

  • A church declaration is completed

  • Volunteers who are doing regulated work are required to become a member of the PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) Scheme.  This involves completion of a form and provision of documents to verify identity. More information on the PVG check for regulated work can be found on our Safeguarding Page.

  • Training is undertaken

 

Whilst this all seems quite daunting, the procedures are designed to provide a safe environment for all pilgrims.  In reality, the committees are used to administering these procedures and normally can get them completed very quickly.

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Preparation

Each year the organising committees put together a programme of preparation for new and experienced helpers.  
The Practical Preparation sessions normally take place in June and consist of induction on:

  • Safe moving and handling techniques

  • Hygiene - hand washing, infection control, etc

  • Tips on feeding sick pilgrims

  • Tips on washing/dressing sick pilgrims

  • Safe operation of wheelchairs

  • Acceptable behaviour and code of conduct awareness

  • Question and answers sessions

In addition, a spiritual preparation night is also held for volunteers to prepare spiritually for their trip.

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Health & Safety Policy

Please click here to view the Health & Safety policy.

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