Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme

Manager’s Biography Training 18th April 2019

For: Managers or potential managers of palliative care volunteer services.

Purpose: To provide training for palliative care volunteer managers in biography and in the support of volunteer biographers.

When: Thursday 18th of April, 9.30am-4pm.

Where: (Palliative Care NSW) Level 3 Meeting Rooms, 414 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills.

Facilitators: Robyn Swanson and Julie Gissing, Sacred Heart Biography Service (SVHS).

Cost: $60-$64.39 (cost has been subsidised by the Volunteer Support Services Programme).

Training objectives: Click here to download the Objectives and Program [98kb].

Limited numbers: Please note that this event is limited to 20 places only.

RSVP: Please register at by selecting to pay online ($64.39) or at the door ($60).

Catering: Self-catering, cafes nearby with light refreshments provided during the day.

Remote attendance: The interactive nature of the training day means that remote attendance wouldn’t be meaningful, hence web/telco options are not available.

For more information: Please contact Kate Bowman or on 02 9206 2048.

About the Sacred Heart Biography Service:

The Sacred Heart Biography Service in its current form started at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney with one volunteer in 2009. In 2016 two experienced biography volunteers, Julie Gissing and Robyn Swanson, were recruited as joint coordinators to develop the Service and ensure its sustainability. Since then the number of trained biography volunteers has grown to 45, enabling members of the Community Palliative Care Team to offer it with confidence to their clients.

The Service offers clients the opportunity to reflect on their lives and leave a legacy for their families and carers. Trained volunteers are matched with, and facilitate, clients through the sometimes challenging process of life review. This process allows them to have their story witnessed and helps them make meaning of their life.

Testimonials from clients and their families/carers and feedback from staff and volunteers all attest to the high value and transformative nature of the service. In 2018 the service was awarded a National Innovation and Excellence Award as Leaders in Catholic healthcare and service to the poor and vulnerable.

About the facilitators, Robyn and Julie:

Following a varied career including a degree in editing, Robyn became a biography volunteer at Sacred Heart Hospice in 2009 after training at Eastern Palliative Care in Melbourne. In 2011 she created a business called Story of My Life to help people write their life stories. At the beginning of 2016 she accepted a position as one of two Biography Coordinators at the Sacred Heart Community Palliative Care Biography Service.

Julie has worked with client life stories in a number of settings. With a background in Social Work and Counselling, Julie works at Sacred Heart and in private practice. After training with Eastern Palliative Care in Melbourne, Julie spent six years as a volunteer biographer in palliative care and since 2016 has been one of two Coordinators of the Community Palliative Care Biography Service at Sacred Heart in Sydney.

Event location: