The new Thames Hospice is not a place for dying but a place for making the most of living. That was the key message from an uplifting talk about the charity given to the Rotary Club of Maidenhead at its meeting on Monday.
Guest speaker Margaret Thomas, the hospice’s supporter relationship manager, told the club how its expert care improves the quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses.
“The hospice is about getting every ounce of joy and life out of living as possible,” she said. “We give hope to those who appear to be hopeless. Hope helps people.”
Speaking over Zoom, she outlined the story of the hospice from its launch 32 years ago at Pine Lodge in Windsor, through its merger with the Paul Bevan Centre in Ascot, to the opening of its new facility near Bray Lake in October last year.
She explained how over the years the charity had provided extraordinary care to many hundreds of people through in-patent services, day care and nurses in the community. But an ageing and increasing density of population meant a new and bigger hospice was needed.
Ground was broken on the new site in January 2019 but the planned opening in July 2020 was delayed by Covid-19. The new hospice has 28 in-patient beds – up from 17 – in three wings.
As well as in-patient care, the hospice offers day care, counselling, and complementary therapies. A family support team helps the children of patients – it is currently supporting 200 children.
Other facilities include an education centre offering training to develop both hospice staff and care workers from other organisations, while the Palliative Community Response Team provides round-the-clock help and support to patients at home.
The site also hosts a shop and community cafe, which the public are encouraged to visit to both learn more about the hospice and help raise much-needed funds.
It costs more than £10 million a year to run the hospice, 49 per cent of which is met through statutory funding. The rest comes from a massive ongoing fundraising effort – from individual donations to large events such as the Santa Dash and Sunflower Walk.
“We survive through the largesse of others. If it was not for groups and individuals who support the hospice we simply could not continue,” said Margaret.
Maidenhead’s three Rotary clubs have joined forces to sponsor two important outdoor areas at the hospice – the family courtyard and the bereavement garden. Our club has committed to contributing £2,500 towards the funding effort, and has previously helped to provide garden furniture for the family courtyard.
To find out more about Thames Hospice see https://thameshospice.org.uk/