21st January 2022

    Pilgrims Christmas Tree Recycling campaign becomes a tree-mendous record-breaking success for east Kent

    Pilgrims Hospices Christmas tree recycling initiative has become a fir-tastic record-breaking success.

    Doorstep collections of Christmas trees took place over two weekends, 8th and 9th and 15th – 16th January 2022 and more than 2,250 were collected and recycled by volunteers and representatives of Pilgrims Hospices.


    Supporters have been helping Pilgrims to take care of the planet and hospice patients, one tree at a time, through generous donations given by members of the community as part of this environmentally-friendly fundraising initiative, which has reached a milestone 10 years in Ashford and ‘branched out’ for the first time in Canterbury and Thanet!

    The campaign has become a record breaker and early estimations show that, in total, more than £41,000 has been raised through donations for the collections. This staggering amount would pay for more than 1,620 hours of specialist nursing care for hospice patients.

    I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who registered their tree for collection

    Kate Duddell – Pilgrims

    This tree-mendous amount brings the total raised from the initiative since its inception 10 years ago to an incredible total of £165,000 over the years.

    The campaign was only made possible with the support of Kent County Council and FCC Environment, Kent’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC). Together the parties have helped Pilgrims deliver the long running 10th year of the Ashford campaign, yet also helped to extend the scheme into two new areas of Canterbury and Thanet. This year the charity ‘branched out’ with the aim to recycle more trees than ever before, which the charity hoped would raise more to help deliver vital end-of-life care for the people of east Kent.

    The support of KCC has played an integral role in expanding the initiative. Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “I welcome this initiative to support Pilgrims Hospices and thank all the partner organisations and volunteers who have made this recycling campaign possible.”

    Kate Duddell, Fundraising Manager said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who registered their tree for collection, each and every donation makes a difference to the £11 million we have to fundraise each year in order to keep our services running.

    “We simply could not run the campaign without the many volunteers lending their time, vans, support or facilities, including the staff at the Recycling Centre, FFC Environment, special thanks to Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, Canterbury City Council and Thanet District Council, Givaudan, Medash Signs, Countrystyle Recycling Ltd, Earles Landscapes Ltd, Tree and Grounds Maintenance Ltd, Old Dairy Brewery, Laing O’Rourke, Cordes Horticultural, Asda and Ashford Vineyard, Waitrose, MW Cave Ltd, Canterbury City Council, Thanet District Council, Core Waste Management, A Bird Trees and Gardens and Forty Seven Reclaimed, all of these groups of people have played a big part in helping us extend and deliver the campaign and we thank each and every one of those involved.”


    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices provide care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the end of life, free from pain and distress.

    13th January 2022

    Pilgrims nurse Peter retires after 44-year career

    Peter Hall from Folkestone was a familiar face at Pilgrims Hospices since its first hospice opened in Canterbury in 1982. Originally a staff nurse, he eventually joined the community team and spent most of his career supporting patients in their own homes across east Kent.


    Peter was born in Germany; his father was in the army, so the family travelled often before settling in Folkestone in 1977. He married his wife, Brigid, in 1982 and together they have three daughters: Ruth (36), Rosie (33) and Ann (31).

    He said: “I left school with very few qualifications, just an Art O-Level at Grade C. Whilst loafing around, I bumped into a friend doing a pre-nursing course and became inspired by a desire to help people, particularly those who were ill. So, I gathered a few more O-Levels and was accepted into nurse training at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. As part of this, I also completed mental health training at Horton Road and Coney Hill hospitals in Gloucester.”

    Pilgrims was built on a foundation of loving people and wanting to serve them at a difficult time. Although initially a Christian organisation, this broad, compassionate ethos laid the foundations for the holistic secular care we have now.

    Peter

    Peter qualified in April 1982 and shortly afterwards became a Pilgrims nurse; he received a royal handshake from the Queen Mother when she opened the Canterbury hospice that year.

    From 1982-83, he worked on the Cheerful Sparrows ward at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. He also nursed on the intensive care unit (ICU) at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Peter returned to Pilgrims in 1988 as a community nurse, supporting patients in the Herne Bay, Thanet and Folkestone areas.

    He continued: “I was interested in the holistic nature of palliative care and felt it was a good way to combine my general nursing skills with my mental health training. Interestingly, myself and several ICU colleagues transitioned to palliative care around the same time – Frances Guthrie, the first community nurse at Pilgrims, Penny Coe, Debbie Corke and Jenny Farran. On the ICU, even if a patient is unconscious their families are there for us to talk to, so there are similarities in the way Pilgrims care for the whole family and support them after bereavement, too.

    A local newspaper article from 2 November 1990, featuring Peter with his Pilgrims colleagues.

     

    “I loved being out and about and visiting people in their own homes, it’s a different dynamic to the wards. Even though a patient is unwell, they’re still the boss – we don’t come to take over, just to advise and help them achieve their goals as best they can. I especially enjoyed Christmas, it’s fun to see how different families celebrate!”

    Peter also worked short spells on the hospice wards. This helped to remind him what the ward environment is like and how colleagues work there, and he would often liaise with them to arrange patient admissions from home to hospice. They also support the community team with syringe driver training, so that nurses like Peter can set them up for patients at home or advise via telephone.

    He added: “I worked with lots of lovely people and we were lucky to have access to many different specialities between us – occupational therapists, physiotherapists, counsellors, to name just a few – which is probably something I took for granted over the years. I’ve always found teamworking really enjoyable.

    “It also ties in with what drew me to palliative care; Pilgrims was built on a foundation of loving people and wanting to serve them at a difficult time. Although initially a Christian organisation, this broad, compassionate ethos laid the foundations for the holistic secular care we have now.”

    I worked with lots of lovely people and we were lucky to have access to many different specialities between us

    Peter

    During his long career, Peter saw much change within the nursing profession:

    “When I started, each nurse had their own caseload, which helped maintain continuity of care but had its downsides, too. The move to corporate caseloads, although more bureaucratic, enabled colleagues to manage your patients if you had a day off. This is where multidisciplinary teamworking shines; everyone pitches in. On the whole, it’s much better for organisation and patient care.

    “Over the years, the admissions process from community into the hospice has also greatly improved, which has been nice to see.”

    Spending the last part of his career nursing through a global pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for Peter and the wider Pilgrims workforce.

    He said: “We had to do a  lot more online so it was tricky; IT is my nemesis! Fortunately, I had lovely colleagues who were very helpful and understanding – I’m not bothered about looking silly so am happy to ask for help. Everyone was so supportive of each other.

    “I’d gone part-time by the time the pandemic started, so that eased things and not much changed for me. Telephone contact was a challenge initially, but it made me appreciate being able to visit people again when we could. We also realised that some things can actually be done more efficiently over the phone or online, so this learning will be taken into future practice. For example, we used to have in-person meetings at GP surgeries, which is very time-consuming with needing to travel back and forth, so doing these via Zoom is much better.”

    Kate White, Head of Nursing at Pilgrims, added: “Peter has been the fabric of Pilgrims for so many years. His retirement is a great loss to us, but mostly to our patients and their families. Peter has always gone the extra mile, putting the patient at the centre of all he does. I have no doubt he will be remembered fondly by all the people whose lives he has touched. He takes with him a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as a great sense of humour. Peter is genuinely one of the kindest, nicest people you could wish to meet. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He always smiles and has a moment to ask how you are.

    “I wish Peter the very best for a long and happy retirement; I am sure he will fill his time continuing to help people, he won’t be able to stop himself!”

    Upon retiring, Peter has no immediate plans other than to spend time with his wife and family. 

    He said: “I’m going to drift into it. I’ve got a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time, so that’s first on my list!

    “My wife and I are going to tidy up our church’s garden. Our daughter, Rosie, gets married soon and we’re also planning a trip to Oklahoma, USA next spring to visit our eldest daughter, Ruth, and her family, which will be lovely. We have lots to look forward to.”

    We’re looking for people to join us in providing outstanding quality care and support to those who need it most.

    If you’re interested in a nursing or care career at Pilgrims, we’d love to hear from you.

    Check out our current vacancies for more information and apply today.


    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity supports patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress. Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.

    11th January 2022

    Bousfield family’s fantastic fundraising for local hospice care

    Charlotte, Mark and Hugo Bousfield from Canterbury are keen supporters of Pilgrims Hospices; to date, they have raised more than £1,300 for the charity.

    They fundraise in memory of Charlotte’s mum, Jane Mounter, who received Pilgrims’ vital end-of-life care at the Thanet hospice in 2017.


    Jane

    Jane lived in Beltinge, Herne Bay, where she was a well-known member of the local community. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, and a much-loved ophthalmic nurse in the outpatients department at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

    Charlotte said: “She was the life and soul of the party and has left a big hole in our lives.

    “When Mum was admitted to the hospice, I was frightened because I thought it was a place of sadness where everything would be very clinical – but I was amazed from the moment I walked in. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and care that Pilgrims’ staff offered, not only to Mum but to our whole family. We could use all the different spaces, including the beautiful gardens, the family room – which was ideal with Hugo, who was four at the time – and the small chapel area for quiet moments of reflection. My mum was made to feel comfortable, reassured and, most importantly of all, normal.”

    Mark and Hugo have taken part in Pilgrims’ festive fun-run, Santas on the Run! in Herne Bay, every year since 2017. The family has also supported Pilgrims’ annual Trees of Love remembrance campaign and been involved with several other fundraising activities.

    As a family, they fundraise to give back and say thank you for the care Jane received, helping to ensure that others can benefit from local hospice services.

    Hugo with his granny, Jane

     

    Charlotte added: “Pilgrims has become a cause incredibly close to our hearts; the work they do day in and day out to make the most painful moments in life a little bit easier, more bearable and totally human, is nothing short of amazing. We will always be grateful for those last moments with Mum in such a safe place.

    Mark and Hugo at Santas on the Bay!

    “They’re a great local charity, and we are forever connected to them through my mum. Pilgrims help thousands of people every single day to make their last moments with special people matter. Through fundraising, we hope to raise awareness of this great cause and offer a small gesture that might help other families in difficult times.”

    You can support Charlotte, Mark and Hugo by donating to their JustGiving page.


    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.

    10th January 2022

    “Spiritual care is at the heart of palliative care” – Spiritual Care Awareness Month 2022

    Martyn Yates is a Spiritual Care Lead and Complementary Therapist at Pilgrims Hospices, based at the Canterbury hospice.

    He shares how he came to his spiritual care role, what spirituality means to him in practice and why he believes it plays such a vital part in hospice care.


    My average day working in palliative care at Pilgrims is spent looking after our patients, families and staff in as holistic a way as possible, which I find tremendously rewarding.

    I’ve been working at Pilgrims Hospices for 33 years, initially as the Complementary Therapy Lead. When our chaplain left eight years ago, I was asked if I would be interested in “looking after the spiritual care of patients” from a “non-religious” point of view. I considered the request and agreed to it.

    I’ve always had an interest in the spiritual aspects of life. In the 60s and 70s, I pursued many aspects of spiritual development whilst teaching in different denominational schools in South London; from this, I formed my own ideas of spirituality. Then, coming back down to Minnis Bay in Thanet with my wife to have a family and moving into the Alternative Therapy world – later to become the Complementary Therapy world – I continued to pursue other personal aspects of spiritual development and my life’s path became a spiritual one.

    In everyday life, my daily spiritual practices give a foundation for me to have the best day I possibly can. Working at Pilgrims Hospices, I believe spiritual care is at the heart of palliative care; it is personal and can successfully cater for people of a particular religious faith or none.

    As I also work as a complementary therapist, I treat my patients holistically – which means looking after their mind, body and spirit – and this fits in perfectly with my spiritual care role. It allows me to meet and get to know not only the patients but also their families, and I do my best to help them through this part of their journey.


    Pilgrims Hospices celebrated Spiritual Care Awareness Month throughout January 2022, showcasing the many ways that spiritual care can make a positive difference to patients, their families, carers and loved ones.

    Click here to find out more.


    There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.

    Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more. 

    3rd January 2022

    “Dying isn’t just a physical process” – Spiritual Care Awareness Month 2022

    Sophie Van Walwyk is Head of Psychosocial, Wellbeing and Bereavement Services at Pilgrims Hospices.

    She introduces Pilgrims’ Spiritual Care Awareness Month, explains how and where spiritual care fits within hospice care, and shares what spirituality means to her personally.


    What does your role involve and how did you come to it?

    In my role at Pilgrims, I’m responsible for our social workers, counsellors and spiritual care leads across our three hospice sites. I also oversee Pilgrims Therapy Centres, wellbeing services and bereavement care.

    I joined Pilgrims in 2015, originally as a palliative social worker at our Thanet hospice. I’d worked closely with the hospice in my previous role with the local authority; learning more about the care and support offered at Pilgrims, I recognised I wanted to also support individuals who were facing the end of their life.

    When someone receives a palliative diagnosis, it can be a frightening and sad time for them and their loved ones. Helping people adjust to and cope with the challenges they are facing is fundamental to hospice care – dying isn’t just a physical process, it is also a psychological, social and spiritual experience. It’s important to recognise a person’s individual needs and care for all of these in the same way we would treat their physical symptoms.

    Treating the whole person is the best part of hospice care. Helping people understand what is important to them at the end of their life, and enabling and empowering them to live as well as possible for as long as possible, is such a rewarding part of my role.

    What does spirituality mean to you?

    Spirituality means different things to different people and it can change over time and in different situations. Traditionally, spirituality was based very much around religious beliefs and rituals, but modern spirituality has become a blend of religious beliefs, humanistic psychology and mystical or obscure traditions.

    Spiritual needs can include:

    • The need to feel hope, peace and gratitude
    • The need for meaning and purpose in our lives
    • The need to feel a sense of belonging
    • The need to love and feel loved

    People do different things to meet their spiritual needs, depending on what is important to them. For some this may be through prayer and worship, but it’s important to understand that our spiritual needs can also be met in other ways. These may include being with family and friends, spending time in nature, or through interests and hobbies.

    For me, spirituality is how I make sense of myself, the world around me and my place and purpose in it. When I first started to explore my own spirituality, I had more questions than answers, and as I continue on my spiritual journey I often still do! But that’s how spiritual growth works; it helps you to question things about yourself and the world, and to accept things about them. It’s sometimes hard to describe what spirituality feels like, because that’s what it is – a feeling deep within you, a sense of inner calm and peace that only you can feel and understand.

    We do have to give time and attention to our own spiritual growth though, it’s not something we can sit back and expect to happen. We have to work at it, by opening our minds and hearts and exploring different ways that may help us to care for ourselves spiritually.

    I find being close to nature helps me to tune into my own spirituality, as it brings a sense of stillness and calm. It encourages me to slow both my body and mind, to simply be in the moment, and appreciate the beauty all around me.

    What role does spiritual care play in hospice care and why is it important?

    Spiritual distress or pain can happen when people are unable to find meaning, hope, love, peace, comfort, strength or connection in their life.

    Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement, taught us about total pain at the end of life – meaning that a person can feel not only physical pain, but also psychological, social and spiritual pain. We must recognise each of these elements that an individual may be experiencing, and support these needs with the same level of care we give to managing physical pain and symptoms.

    When an individual is facing the end of their life, it’s natural that they may want to reflect on the meaning of their life – perhaps for the first time, or at a deeper level than they have done before. They may also want to think about death, loss and grief in new ways.

    I’m delighted to be involved with Pilgrims’ Spiritual Care Awareness Month celebrating this vital part of hospice care.


    Pilgrims Hospices celebrated Spiritual Care Awareness Month throughout January 2022, showcasing the many ways that spiritual care can make a positive difference to patients, their families, carers and loved ones.

    Click here to find out more.


    There’s much more to death than we think; what if it isn’t just an ending, but an event we can plan for? Thinking beyond the four walls of hospices and hospitals, we have the chance to approach it with confidence and plan a good death. After Wards is a collection of insights and ideas from people who can help us all to re-imagine this essential part of life, and to live well until we die.

    Continue the conversation at our Time to Talk events with film screenings, poetry readings, Death Cafes and much more. 

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