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New York-based end of life support charity visits UCLan

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and UCLan Cancer Studies Centre welcomed Amy Levine to its campus last week as part of the Distinguished Visitor Programme.

Amy is the Executive Director of the Doula Programme to Accompany and Comfort, a non-profit organisation that provides volunteers for individuals facing the end of life alone. She travelled from its base in New York to spend a week in Lancashire where she was working with a project team from Age UK Lancashire and the School of Medicine and Dentistry at UCLan, funded by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, who are looking at community based volunteer support at end-of-life. She delivered a lecture called ‘Enriching Lives along the Runway’ in the Mitchell and Kenyon Cinema which was attended by over 40 delegates.

Amy’s visit was part of a collaboration that began in May 2013 when representatives from UCLan, the NHS and Age UK Lancashire visited New York to learn about the Doula Programme. The volunteer programme works by assigning volunteers whose visits help to lessen loneliness for people experiencing life-limiting illness. The Doula Programme is a successful model of community-based volunteer befriending in End-of-Life and Amy visited UCLan to discuss how the programme works, aspects of the training and how they work collaboratively with health and social service providers.

Amy said: “It was a wonderful experience to spend a week at UCLan and Preston; I have met some wonderful people. I’ve learnt so much from our collaboration and enriching visit this week.

“I am glad that we are continuing to support each other and it is an honour and a privilege to have been invited as a Distinguished Visitor to speak about the Doula Programme.”