1st October 2021

    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.

    6th October 2020

    This is what it takes to provide hospice care for the people of east Kent

    Hospice Care Week 5 – 11 October 2020

    Hospice Care Week is an annual opportunity for the UK’s 200+ hospices to showcase the incredible work they do.  This year, with COVID-19 restrictions limiting our face-to-face events, Pilgrims decided to make a film to show just what it takes to provide hospice care for the people of east Kent.

    We hope this film shows the breadth of our services,  helps to overcome the taboo that still exists around discussing death and dying  and shows the dedication of our workforce and volunteers.

    If you ask people what they understand about hospice care, most will refer to our wards where we look after people at the very end of their lives.  This is certainly a key part of what we do, but we do so much more.

    Hospice Care Week might look a little different this year, but the 200+ hospices throughout the UK know that is all the more reason to recognise and celebrate the incredible work that they do.

    Pilgrims Hospices care is far more than just buildings where people go to die.  Much of the care happens in people’s homes and within the community.  When Pilgrims care for someone at the end of their life, they are helping them to make adjustments and changes, learn to live with their illness, manage symptoms and live well in every moment.

    The challenging times of COVID-19 have captured headline news for all organisations across the country and the world, it brings challenges to the charity’s care and resources too.  The nurses and staff on the wards continue to provide 24-hour nursing care for those who need a bed on one of the hospice wards.  While the community teams remain at the heart of the community, supporting patients and their families to be cared for at home if this is their wish.

    Underpinning Pilgrims care are a team of occupational therapists, counsellors, physiotherapists, and many more who support patients to understand their conditions and provide the necessary equipment and techniques to manage pain, breathlessness and anxiety to support their quality of life.

    We have 1,500 volunteers dedicating around 150,000 hours per year which makes a significant difference to our services.  They make a contribution in around 30 different roles across our services which include retail, administration and fundraising.  We celebrate their dedication and work to offer them the best volunteer experience with Pilgrims Hospices.

    Jeff Southon – Volunteer Services Manager


    Jeff Southon – Volunteer Services Manager


    Pilgrims Hospices community is wide and diverse; supporting the front line clinical team are researchers, catering, retail, domestic, education, fundraisers, administration teams and the most amazing support of 1,500 volunteers.  The charity supports over 2,500 patients each year coping with life-limiting illnesses.

    Recently Pilgrims Hospices have developed and adapted their services to provide continued support even when the pandemic has restricted face to face services.  They have overcome the challenges and offer a business as usual service via online technology, telephone and YouTube where there’s access to many support videos which include fitness, wellbeing and creativity.

    The range of care which included complementary therapy the nurses and occupational therapy allowed Ann to fulfil her wish to stay at home.

    Kate Love – Volunteer and service user


    Kate Love – Volunteer and service user


    As a celebration of all the work that goes on every day of the year; Pilgrims has compiled a video of just some of the incredible people that help the charity to be there for anyone who needs their specialist care in east Kent.  You can watch on Pilgrims Hospices website.

    Mandy Williams, Pilgrims Head of Education, who narrates the project said: “We felt it was important that people know we offer far more than just a hospice bed or a place to die.

    The video is a small insight into the work of so many compassionate

    people, whether as an employee of the charity or as a much valued volunteer.

    “We hope you will watch and enjoy our celebration of the work Pilgrims Hospices does in east Kent.

    “We are dedicated to providing quality comfort and care for our patients, and support for families and friends when a loved one has died.”

    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. 


    12th October 2018

    Rosemary shares a Hospice at Home experience

    Rosemary Lamb shares her experience of Pilgrims Hospice at Home services from her home in Herne Bay.

    My husband William, or Bill as he was always known to everyone, was 74 years old when he passed away earlier this year.  After many years coping with chronic restrictive pulmonary disease (CRPD), Bill’s health deteriorated, he spent more time in hospital, and after being admitted in December 2017, was referred to Pilgrims Hospices for more tailored support.

    We came along to Pilgrims Hospices to meet with the Community Team, here we gained a greater knowledge of the services that could help Bill to manage his symptoms and help him to stay independent for as long as possible.

    His wishes were to remain at home with family in his final days, this was made easier with the support of the Hospice at Home Team from Pilgrims.

    Bill, a local milkman and tradesman who was born and bred in Sturry near Canterbury.  I was a dental receptionist from Canterbury, we met while walking through the old bus station at Canterbury and our journey began right there.  We were married for 54 years and apart from a few years living in Herne Bay, we raised our family of three daughters Jane, Julie and Sharon in Sturry.

    We used Pilgrims Therapy Centre that offered breathing and relaxation classes amongst many others.  Going to the hospice had a comforting feel, just like home, with a lounge to relax and meet others who were being supported by the charity.  It was never a place that held any fear for us, everyone was there to help us make positive decisions and there was never a doubt that Bill’s care and wellbeing was of the highest priority for everyone we came into contact with. We never considered the hospice, as a place to die, more as a place to share our experiences and benefit from the wonderful care team and their depth of knowledge and experience.

    They had a natural understanding of what Bill needed along with supporting me and the family as his carers.


    Mandy Hilden from Pilgrims Hospice at Home with Rosemary


    I attended Carers Days at the hospice, which gave her an opportunity to meet other people coping with similar situations.  It definitely helped me feel more confident, knowing there are so many others who felt the same.  Talking really helped.

    I attended relaxation classes with Bill and almost had to pinch myself, I was so close to falling asleep, it was marvellous.

    As Bill became housebound the Hospice at Home team were wonderful, helping to manage Bill’s everyday needs, keeping him smiling and also supporting me with their kindness, nothing was too much trouble.

    They had a natural understanding of what Bill needed along with supporting me and the family as his carers.  Mandy from the Hospice at Home Team helped to organise a hospital bed for our home when Bill became bedbound. The Hospice at Home visits were welcomed by both of us, we felt supported and care for, he was so much, he was so much happier, relaxed, at ease and was treated with dignity and respect in every instance.

    We, as a family, felt the services given from the charity were fantastic and thank them for helping to make Bill’s days at home very precious to all of us.

    Each year Pilgrims Hospices charity support hundreds of local people coping with a life limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards, Hospice at Home, Community Care and its Wellbeing and Social Programme, supporting people after they are diagnosed, to live well and stay independent.



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