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Hospices founder formally opens centre named in her honour

Posted on 25 January 2013

A new conference, education and training centre in Canterbury officially opened on Thursday 24 January, which will enable Pilgrims Hospices to train and develop both its own staff and those from other healthcare organisations in end of life care.  Meeting space is also available for hire which will support this local charity.

The Ann Robertson Centre in London Road has been named in honour of the hospice’s founder and she  unveiled a plaque in front of 100 invited guests.

Ann, a former district nurse and midwife from Wingham, said: “I am pleased and proud but also very humbled because without the support of countless other people none of this would have been possible.

“I can see several faces who were here in 1970 when this hospice was just a dream and they would agree we’re very thrilled the purpose of this centre is to be for education.

“Education has always been a key part of our work. It’s fantastic we now have this designated facility and income generator for future projects. We must praise the trustees and management for their vision and boldness in purchasing this building to ensure Pilgrims can maintain its reputation for being at the cutting edge of palliative care.”

Dr Richard Morey, the Chairman of Pilgrims Hospices Trustees, said: “In just four months, we have built this wonderful education centre and it is going to play a very important part in Pilgrims Hospices’ future as we adapt to cater for the14% increase in workload we experienced in 2012.

“Purchasing Oldroyd House enables us to complete our footprint in this location and gives us several options, both in the long term and short term, for expansion. It is very important too in terms of increased income generation and this centre is open for hire at reasonable rates to lots of people in the community.”

Pilgrims Hospices bought Oldroyd House, which adjoins the hospice, in early 2012 and has created the Ann Robertson Centre from the front part of the building. Profits from hiring out its conference rooms will be ploughed back towards meeting the costs of providing free patient care from the charity’s three hospices.

The centre can be hired for a full range of events, product launches, awaydays and staff training. It has been set up to lend professionalism to business events, ensuring conferences and formal meetings create the right impression for the centre’s clients.

Pilgrims is also offering its own bespoke range of training workshops at the centre to allow the wider healthcare community to improve skills and knowledge in end of life care and related subjects.

Among the facilities there are three good size training rooms, aptly named the Geoffrey Chaucer, the Charles Dickens and the William Harvey. These famous historical figures link the three hospice locations. There will also be a clinical room for hands on training.

The largest of the three conference rooms can seat 55 people in theatre style or 24 when set up for a round the table meeting. It has a large flatscreen TV on one wall provided with connections for laptops and projectors.

There are two further rooms which can seat 12-14 people in classroom style or up to 33 when arranged in theatre settings. Again, both have large TVs with laptop and projector connections. For those events which call for hands on demonstrations and practical working, a clinical room with sink has been created. To make communication that much easier, there is also free wifi access throughout the centre.

More information can be obtained by phoning Pilgrims education and training team on 01227 812616, email or by visiting


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