St Rocco’s RocON! showcases impact of hospice initiative

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WARRINGTON Wolves star Ben Westwood was guest of honour during the final session of the latest schools engagement project from St. Rocco’s.
The second RocON! Initiative saw pupils from Evelyn Street Primary School visit the Hospice for weekly educational and craft sessions with patients from the Day Unit, helping them learn about support, emotions and how to live well with challenges.
The patients went along to cheer on the pupils during their sports day at the beginning of June, and the project came to an end on Wednesday when the children were awarded certificates from Ben.
Speaking during his visit, he said: “It’s brilliant that kids are able to come in and communicate with the patients and I can really tell from today that it has positively affected the patients as well as the pupils, who are a real credit to themselves. Keep on making a difference!”
RocON!, which was shortlisted as Community Initiative of the Year at the recent Warrington Business Awards, launched at the beginning of 2015 with St. Lewis Primary School. Evelyn Street is the second school to take part in the project, which challenges misconceptions around death and dying, loss and bereavement.
Many of the pupils lacked confidence at the beginning of the project, but interacting with the patients and volunteers brought them out of themselves and helped them grow.
During the final session pupils were asked to tell the visitors gathered about the patients they partnered with, and what they have learned. Pupil Ellie said: “I will always remember Sue, especially her laugh. Thanks for everything and for making me more confident.”
Charlie addressed his words to his partner, patient John Garret, sending him a message as he wasn’t well enough to attend the final session: He said:  “John you are the best at St. Rocco’s but don’t tell anyone. I wish I could stay here every day but unfortunately I can’t, but at least you will remember me anyway. St. Rocco’s isn’t just a place of caring, it’s a place of kindness too.”
Through the project the pupils learned story massage – the process of using basic massage techniques to tell a story – which encouraged touch between the partners. There was also a strong craft element to the sessions, with pupils and patients working together to make memory boxes.
The children also made pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, writing something on the back that they would always like to remember. The pieces were put together and framed, and will hang on the wall of the school to remind the pupils that if they are ever sad they will not be alone, as they are connected to others –  just like the jigsaw pieces.
Anne Hannon, Learning Mentor at Evelyn Street Primary School, said; “I was quite nervous before the project about how the children would accept the boundaries and expectations, but the project has surpassed all expectations and had a real impact on the pupils, who have realised there are lots of ways to support ourselves and each other.
They have loved every minute and have been very respectful of the patients, and talk about St. Rocco’s all the time, bot at school and at home. I’ve got a lot out of it personally too and think it’s amazing that people who are struggling with illness and are often in pain, are giving their time to help with such a worthwhile project.”
Jan Temenos, project lead, added: “Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and energy to make this project so successful, I think that we ALL learned from each other. A message for the RocON! pupils – Well done! If everyone at Evelyn Street are as fantastic as you guys, then it must be a great school!”


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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