Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal – 8th March 2017

Motion S5M-03214: Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal (Linda Fabiani MSP)

“That the Parliament welcomes Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal, which is now in its 31st year and runs throughout March 2017; understands that Marie Curie provides care and support for over 8,000 people and their families every year in Scotland in their own homes, in 31 local authorities and in Marie Curie hospices in Edinburgh and Glasgow; highlights the vital contribution that volunteers make to provide this care; acknowledges that in 2015-16, 1,863 people across Scotland volunteered for Marie Curie in their community fundraising groups, the Helper service, shops and offices; recognises the dedication and hard work of fundraising volunteers that means the annual Great Daffodil Appeal has so far raised over £80 million pounds since 1986 to enable and support the work of the charity; applauds what it sees as the substantial contribution made by over 80 local Marie Curie fundraising groups to the Great Daffodil Appeal every year to support Marie Curie services across Scotland; further recognises that trained volunteers from the Marie Curie Helper service, currently available in Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Lothian, Grampian and Argyll and Bute, provide one-to-one emotional support, companionship and information for people living with a terminal illness and their families; considers that terminal illness can be a lonely and isolating experience and that the Helper service can help tackle social isolation, loneliness and associated mental health issues; recognises the role of volunteers in Marie Curie’s 37 shops in Scotland who it considers provide excellent customer service and are involved in a wide range of activities to support the running of each shop; acknowledges that volunteering or joining a fundraising group can be very rewarding and every volunteer’s gift of time and skills helps Marie Curie to make a real difference to the lives of people living with a terminal illness, and their families, as well as raising vital local funds; applauds the work of staff and volunteers across Marie Curie who work toward its vision of a better life for people and their families living with a terminal illness, and notes calls to encourage as many people as possible to support the campaign.”

(From 47:22)

I thank Linda Fabiani for securing the debate to welcome the great daffodil appeal, which is Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising event. I welcome all the volunteers to Parliament—especially the representatives from the Kirkcaldy constituency. Each year, the daffodil appeal raises more than £4 million in Scotland to help the 200 Marie Curie nurses who work across Scotland to care for and support people with terminal illnesses, and to provide emotional support for families, friends and the wider community.

The charity has made immense contributions to Scotland since it was founded in 1948—the same year as the NHS was established—and it provides the largest number of hospice beds outside the NHS. From 2015 to 2016, 1,863 well-trained volunteers were involved in fundraising in their communities and their local shops. Marie Curie does not only offer nurses who provide hands-on care and hospices that offer a friendly environment; it also helps people who are affected by terminal illnesses to get the information and support that they need, through the research that it carries out to improve care and support. Those services all come from the amazing work of volunteers and fundraisers, especially through the daffodil appeal, which has raised more than £80 million since 1986, and has contributed to giving people better-quality lives.

Those achievements would not have been possible without the help of the thousands of volunteers who make fundamental contributions to the provision of good-quality care. Marie Curie’s survival and success are dependent on the dedication and hard work of those volunteers, who dedicate their time and special skills to helping people who are in need.

Volunteering allows us to get involved with new things, environments and experiences; to create better environments for others; to create healthier communities; to meet a wide variety of people from all walks of life; to create networks and connections; to gain valuable insights and a sense of accomplishment; and to build potential future career options. In those ways, volunteering is a two-way street—volunteers and patients both benefit. The economic value of volunteering saves billions of pounds that can be used to ensure that the services that Marie Curie and its volunteers provide are the best that they can be, and can provide one-to-one emotional support, tackle social isolation and provide companionship

In my constituency, trained volunteers provide a unique one-to-one service. In 2014, Marie Curie partnered with NHS Fife to deliver tailored care and support at home for terminally ill people, and for their families. In 2015-16, 21 Marie Curie nurses cared for 318 patients in a total of 4,255 visits, and that vital support allowed 94 per cent of those patients to die with dignity in the place of their choice. The scheme works alongside other services and initiatives in Fife to meet the individual needs of patients and families. It is a great example of a partnership approach to providing health and emotional support services at what can be an extremely difficult time not only for patients, but for their families and the wider community.

I am extremely proud of the contributions that the Kirkcaldy funding group has made since its inception in 2014 by raising vital funds of more than £11,000. It spreads awareness, has participated in the town’s beach highland games and organises many events and activities in the community. Last year’s event was a fashion show that was organised by the group, which was extremely successful and raised £1,000 for the charity.

Volunteers are a vital part of the Marie Curie Fife service; they offer companionship and emotional support, provide practical help including aiding patients with small tasks, spend time with patients to allow breaks for their families and carers, and help people and their families to find further support and services that are accessible and available locally. Without volunteers, Marie Curie would not be able to deliver that range of services and support.

In conclusion, I again thank Linda Fabiani for securing the debate. I encourage everyone to give a small donation during March, and to wear a daffodil pin to raise awareness of and to promote the great daffodil appeal.


Link to the Scottish Parliament Official Report.

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