Pilgrims Hospices celebrate Hospice Care Week 2021

Hospice Care Week (4 – 8 October 2021), is all about raising our voices to show how important hospice and end of life care is for people; it’s an opportunity to recognise and celebrate hospices and the care they provide.

It’s a chance to demonstrate the value of support, care and what matters to us as individuals at the end of our lives. After an incredibly difficult 18 months, Pilgrims would like to take Hospice Care Week as an opportunity to celebrate and thank everyone for working so hard to ensure vital services can continue, no matter who you are.

Therapy Centres re-open and new Walk and Talk group for carers launches

After the long period of delivering services virtually, Pilgrims Hospices therapy team welcome patients and carers back to the Therapy Centres as services re-open.

Chris Jones, Wellbeing Practitioner Team Leader

Chris Jones, Pilgrims Wellbeing Practitioner Team Leader said: “It will take some time to re-engage with our service users face to face, and make the necessary arrangements to get groups together and safely back to the hospice Therapy Centres, where we can once again provide the wellbeing sessions that we’ve missed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We are delighted to say we are already running a new Walk and Talk group for carers.”

The carers walking group is an informal, easy paced walking group, taking place in the relaxed and beautiful environment of Pegwell Country Park Nature Reserve, offering an opportunity for people to connect, share, re-energise and learn from others who have similar experiences to their own. The walks are supported by Wellbeing Practitioners and trained volunteers.

Chris added: “We welcome Pilgrims carers from across east Kent to join us at the Pegwell Country Park walks.”

The Therapy team have identified two additional walking routes – Canterbury, Toddlers Cove and along the Stour and Ashford, Conningbrook Lakes Country Park.

These new Walk and Talk groups will start in October 2021.

“We share stories and talk about what we’re going through”

Freda Thomas from Minster told us: “The Walk and Talk group is fabulous, I look forward to Wednesdays when I can join with like-minded people; we share stories and talk about what we’re going through, it feels so good to talk about it. Being out in the fresh air is so uplifting, Chris and Kath from the hospice Wellbeing team are lovely and have lots of useful advice.

“Our group finish the walk with a coffee stop and always feel refreshed, and ready to take on the rest of the week.

“I’ve made new friends, and Judy and myself have become particularly good friends and now go swimming together on Tuesdays which also helps with my wellbeing.

Freda and Judy


“My husband had used Pilgrims services for exercise and breathing classes and more recently the Hospice at Home nurse comes to support him. On one of her visits she explained the benefits of the Walk and Talk group, and put my details forward to the Wellbeing team. It’s definitely helping to make a difference.”

I look forward to Wednesdays when I can join with like-minded people; we share stories and talk about what we’re going through, it feels so good to talk about it.


Walking with others builds connections, helps ease feelings of loneliness and isolation and research has shown that walking with others reduces anxiety and helps build resilience. Walking in nature can improve wellbeing, mood and self-esteem whilst reducing depression and stress.

Benefits of walking and talking

“Therefore, the aim of the carers’ walking group is primarily to improve health and wellbeing and give them some time out of their caring role. It provides an opportunity for carers to meet, keep fit and make new friends and also enables us to listen to their experiences and offer support in a relaxed and informal setting.” Chris explained.

The group is proving extremely popular and Pilgrims hope to extend the programme to those using their Stepping Stones bereavement services, who may find some additional therapy benefits.

Find out more about Pilgrims wellbeing programmes

Pilgrims wellbeing groups and programmes are all designed to enable patients and carers to live well in both mind and body for as long as possible.

We support people to cope with the practical and emotional challenges they are facing when living with a life limiting condition, along with those who are caring for them.

Get in touch to find out more about Pilgrims Hospices wellbeing services and how to access our therapy sessions:

Could you be a Pilgrims Wellbeing volunteer?

As we re-introduce our Wellbeing sessions for patients and carers, we welcome back the amazing support of our volunteer workforce in order to make this happen in a seamless fashion.

We’re always interested to hear from people who would like to offer their skills as a volunteer.

There are many interesting and rewarding opportunities to volunteer within Pilgrims Therapy Centres and we welcome volunteers who have a range of skills and experience to support the Wellbeing team.

Some ways that you can volunteer are:

  • Meet, greet and befriend patients and carers attending Therapy Centres
  • Support Wellbeing Practitioners to facilitate wellbeing groups and programmes
  • Help design and deliver creative, relaxing, social and fun activities for patients and carers
  • Provide wellbeing support calls to patients and carers who are isolated and unable to come to the hospice
  • Become a Walk and Talk group leader
  • Provide admin support to the Wellbeing team

If you’d like to find out more or to express an interest in volunteering, please contact Pilgrims’ HR team on 01227 812 612.

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.