In Black History Month, Connie Ashton is marking one year in her role as Lead Chaplain at Barnsley Hospital. Connie has been reflecting on the positives, patient and warm listening ear that the hospital chaplaincy provides to patients, colleagues and carers – of all faiths and none.

Connie’s compassionate work and strong faith is vital to many families who find themselves facing illness, sadness and loss. She was brought up in a Christian family in Zimbabwe and earlier in her career worked in accounting.

During the Covid pandemic she has faced a number of challenges and yet overcome them with creative solutions embracing ‘virtual positivity.’ For example, the hospital’s annual baby memorial service was this year live streamed on Facebook. Connie continues to work within the ‘new normal’ to give swathes of support, working with Covid ward patients and staff, supporting and enriching everyone’s spirituality in the Trust.

Connie said: ‘As part of Black History Month, I wanted to look at the most rewarding things about my role. To be able to build human relationships, treat everyone with same level of respect and to put a smile on people’s faces, especially in current times. This is my role which is very fulfilling.  I try to look after the best interests of staff, patients, families and carers to ensure chaplaincy services are available to them whenever required.”

She added: ‘Over the past year, I have worked  and supported with lots of various emotional events such as the baby blessings and memorials, end of life care, and Remembrance Day to mention a few. On a day-to-day basis, I make the chaplaincy services as accessible to everyone to give care and compassion to our patients and staff.”

To access the chaplaincy services please contact us on 01226 435751 or via switchboard 01226 730000, in an emergency or if you need to speak to a chaplain urgently. A duty chaplain is available 24/7