STUDENTS say volunteering at a hospice has been a “fantastic” opportunity.

Teenagers who study healthcare at Barnet and Southgate College are giving up a few hours of their day to meet people at the North London Hospice.

As part of their course, they have to carry out 100 hours of work experience and are spending time at the hospice’s inpatient and outpatient units.

Beatriz Vierira says the experience has given her the grounding she needs to go on and study nursing.

The 17-year-old said: "I'd had my ideas about what North London Hospice was about and did some background reading before starting my placement, but this didn't do justice to what I am experiencing during my time here.

“The care provided is so vast and not limited to common perceptions people have of hospice care.

“The work I am undertaking during my placement, such as observing health care professionals, serving patients their lunch, sitting and talking to service users and taking part in the social activities has certainly developed my skills and enhanced me as a student."

Maria Lopes, 18, who is hoping to one day be a qualified social worker said: "My placement at the hospice is giving me first-hand experience of working with patients who have specialist needs.

“It's been a fantastic opportunity to sit and speak to patients and their families, gain an understanding of hospice care and develop through training."