The Greater Trail Hospice Society is launching a variety of free training opportunities for local people to become grief support and hospice volunteers that will run throughout March, April and May. 

The move is part of a wider drive to recruit a new wave of hospice volunteers who want to give back to their local communities, have a positive impact and enjoy an enhanced sense of purpose. “And no, it’s not depressing”, says Marg MacDermid who has been volunteering across a variety of roles for The Greater Trail Hospice Society for the past three years. “It makes you feel good and brings you happiness. You actually get more out of it than what you can give,” she adds. 

The charity is also keen to attract men, as well as women, to its team in order to provide support and companionship to anyone in the community who is grieving or is at end of life. 

“Many people discount hospice volunteering because they think it might be too emotionally demanding or they won’t have enough time to do it but once they get involved, they often wish they’d started sooner. You can really make a big difference to someone’s bad, sad or painful day by just being there and shifting their focus,” adds Jim Morris who has been one of the charity’s bedside and grief support volunteer as well as a friendly visitor during the last three years. “You don’t have to have experienced grief yourself to help neutralize someone else’s grieving process either but for those who have, it can be incredibly productive, meaningful and forward-focused to channel that grief into something so positive and share your coping skills with others,” he adds. 

“Our hospice society is much more focused on life and living well than it is on anything else,” says Board Chair and retired community nurse Brenda Hooper who first started coordinating the Hospice’s work in Rossland, Trail and beyond when it started in 1987. “As a compassionate, caring community, we are responsible for building strong support for the dying and grieving, relieving the pressure on an overburdened healthcare system and ensuring no one dies or grieves alone,” she adds. 

Participation is not just for the newly retired either! High school and University students looking for volunteer hours or experiences to boost their resume can also get involved with the organization by distributing posters, helping its marketing efforts or fundraising. 

Part One Training for Grief or Bereavement support volunteer positions kicks off on March 31 (6pm – 8pm) and training for Hospice Volunteers begins on Friday, April 22 (5pm – 9 pm). Call to register your interest on 250-231-7344. To find out more email info@trailhospice.org or visit http://www.trailhospice.org. Follow them on Facebook @trailhospice and Twitter @GreaterTrail too! 

Volunteer training opportunities are also available this spring at hospices across the West Kootenay region: 

  • Hospice of North Kootenay Lake hospice@kaslo.org (250-353-2299)
  • Castlegar Hospice Suzanne.lehbauer@interiorhealth.ca (250-304-1266)
  • Nelson Hospice info@nelsonhospice.org (250-352-2337)
  • Salmo Hospice salmohospice@gmail.com
    (250-505-5833)
  • New Denver Hospice admin@newdenverhospice.ca
    (250-551-6190)
  • Nakusp Hospice – nakhospice@hotmail.com
    (250-265-7179). 
  • Ongoing Nav-Care online training is also available at 
  • Trail Hospice Info@trailhospice.org (250-364-6204) and
  • Kalein House for Salmo/Nelson/New Denver info@kaleinhospice.com (250-352-3331)

The Greater Trail Hospice Society