30th November 2023

    Jenni Burnes has a touching and inspirational story that highlights her journey with Pilgrims Hospices

    Jenni Burnes is 44 years old and a Pilgrims Hospices patient who received care on the ward for pain management. After a spell of treatment and support, she is now at home and being supported by the Pilgrims Wellbeing team at the hospice Therapy Centre.  As part of her on-going support, Jenni regularly attends the Time to Create groups.  Jenni welcomed me into her home in Hawkinge, which she shares with her loving husband, Adrian, and two adorable spaniel dogs, Bre and Briar. Their journey together has spanned 17 years, including 14 years of marriage. Having recently moved to a home that is better suited to her mobility, Jenni has a newfound independence in their bungalow space, which brings them much happiness.

    Jenni enjoying some fresh air and sunshine

    Jenni’s life took a challenging turn when she battled breast cancer, but the good news is she’s received the all-clear. Still, she faces the ongoing struggle of dealing with serious health conditions, including cancer, liver disease, and a history of bulimia.


    Jenni’s experience at Pilgrims Hospices has been eye-opening. She didn’t know what to expect, but she discovered a warm and caring community where everyone, from the nurses to the volunteers, made her feel at home. She formed bonds with other patients and their families and values the family atmosphere at the hospice.

    I’ve developed friendships I would never have expected


    “Dr. Pia took time to explain to me and my husband how Pilgrims would support my care; Dr. Suman helped with my pain management; and I soon became much stronger than I’d been in quite some time.  After a short spell on the hospice ward, I was able to return home and was offered the opportunity to join the Time to Create group once a week to support my wellbeing.” Jenni told me.

    She said: “My introduction to the group came with a sense of nervousness, as I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t consider myself a creative person. However, I quickly realised the positive impact of my engagement with Pilgrims. The wellbeing groups, especially the “Time to Create” sessions, have become an essential part of my life. I really appreciate the camaraderie, the banter, and the social element of these gatherings, as well as the opportunity to connect with others who understand my journey.”

    I can see the benefit of the group is helping Jenni to make good choices and enjoy life in every moment.  We offer flexibility within our wellbeing services to allow access to the right support at the time when it’s most needed.  These therapeutic sessions help to manage symptoms and enhance wellbeing.  It gives people opportunities to connect with other people and share experiences in a caring and friendly environment.

    Mel     –     Pilgrims Wellbeing Practitioner

    Since moving to their new home and feeling stronger with Pilgrims support, Jenni has embraced healthier lifestyle choices to boost her wellbeing, and it’s making a positive difference in her life. Despite her health challenges, Jenni is determined to live her life fully and independently. She even takes herself on outings via the local bus, which helps her regain a sense of normality.

    Jenni had a diverse work history, including roles at Eurotunnel, a kitchen company, a doctor’s surgery, and even as a phlebotomist, which she loved. She told me that she particularly cherished her time working with patients and looks forward to the groups where she feels she can be a support to other service users too.

    Jenni with visitor Kerry King who joined Jenni for a a chat

    Jenni stated: “My cousin Lou brings me to the group sessions; it initially helped boost my confidence.  She also takes part in the activities and enjoys the company of the group members too.  Lou is my rock, and I love her support. I couldn’t do this without her.


    “At the group sessions, I’ve developed friendships I would never have expected and enjoyed the creative activities; we often laugh so much, and I really look forward to them.”

    Jenni’s husband, Adrian, has been a pillar of support, and she continues to fight her health battles with resilience. The care team at Pilgrims has made a significant difference by providing targeted medication, leading to a better quality of life.

    Jenni is grateful for the support she has received from Pilgrims and encourages others to put their trust in the hospice’s services. She recognises that while life may present challenges, every day brings opportunities to conquer something, no matter how small.


    In conclusion, Jenni Burnes’ story is a testament to her strength, resilience, and the positive impact of Pilgrims Hospices in her life.

    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are 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.

    13th November 2023

    Celebrating Diwali as part of Inter Faith Week

    Celebrating Diwali with patients at the Wellbeing Centre as part of Inter Faith Week activities is a wonderful way to promote inclusion and cultural diversity. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a significant Hindu festival celebrated by millions of people around the world.

    Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing teams made the Diwali celebrations part of their Time to Create group sessions.  Those attending took part in traditional Diwali artwork, creating colourful paintings using designs associated with the festival.  Everyone was encouraged to express themselves through these creative activities.

    Amie Tuffs, Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing Practitioner, said: “Our Time to Create groups are a really lovely way of getting our patients together in a relaxing environment.  We talk about all sorts of topics, including how we’re feeling and what’s happening in our lives, while trying some new creatives that perhaps group members haven’t tried before.  Our Diwali sessions allowed the groups to talk about the significance of the festival and the symbolic gesture of dispelling darkness and welcoming light into our lives.  We had great fun creating our own special celebration of light pictures that will be displayed around the hospices for visitors, staff, and volunteers to appreciate the artwork.”

    The Wellbeing team captured the moments through photography in order to remember this special celebration.

    By celebrating Diwali in this way, Pilgrims Hospices created a warm and inclusive environment where patients from various backgrounds, could share in the joy and cultural richness of this festival. It’s a beautiful way to bring people together and provide a sense of belonging during their time at the hospice.


    Would you like to find out more about Pilgrims Wellbeing Programmes?  They are free if you live in east Kent and if you have been diagnosed with an incurable illness. The sessions aim to enhance your wellbeing, both in mind and body. Services are also available for caregivers, be they friends or family, to support them with self-care too.

    Please visit the website, www.pilgrimshospices.org/wellbeing.  You can access Pilgrims services through your GP or health care provider.

    If you talk to us sooner, we can do so much more.

    Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of people in east Kent who are 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.


    8th September 2023

    There’s nothing quite like afternoon tea!

    National Afternoon Tea Week, what a wonderful thing to celebrate! Pilgrims Hospices shared tea with their Living Well groups, and agreed it was a great opportunity to bring people together and enjoy delicious treats. It’s heart-warming to hear that Pilgrims Hospices’ Wellbeing Group recently organised a special afternoon tea for their patients at the Canterbury Ashford and Thanet hospices.

    Jane Stanley, Pilgrims Wellbeing Practitioner told us: ”I just want to say, a huge thank you to Pilgrims catering teams, for putting together such a lovely afternoon tea for our service users.  The chefs are always ready to help make our patients feel very special, nothing is too much trouble.

    “They are normally tirelessly working behind the scenes ensuring each and every day that patients are well fed, have their strength built up, and even in their last days, patients can enjoy every moment and enjoy having tasty food to eat. During National Afternoon Tea Week, the catering teams at Thanet, Canterbury and Ashford were thrust into the spotlight, were their kindness and skills were truly recognised.

    “With short notice, they prepared an afternoon tea for the patients who attended the Living Well groups across the hospice sites.  They exceeded expectations, offering sausage rolls, sandwiches, dips, a cheese board, freshly made scones, cakes and a fruit platter. The standard of cooking and presentation was 5 Star, said one patient who tucked in.”

    Afternoon tea is a cherished British tradition, and it can bring a lot of joy and comfort to those in hospice care. Scones and sausage rolls are classic choices for afternoon tea, and serving tea alongside these treats makes it a delightful experience for everyone involved.

    Celebrations like this not only provide a chance to enjoy delicious food but also create a sense of community and support among the patients and staff. The hospice environment can be challenging, and such events can lift the spirits and foster a warm and caring atmosphere.

    It’s heartening to see organisations like Pilgrims Hospices making an effort to provide these special moments for their patients, ensuring they have the best possible quality of life during their time at the hospice. National Afternoon Tea Week is a perfect occasion to cherish those moments and celebrate life together.

    A huge thank you to Pilgrims Catering Teams

    Jane    –   Pilgrims

    It was made extra special when patients were able to thank the chefs in person, when they delivered the trollies of tasty treats. Gasps of joy and wonder could be heard as many were rendered speechless by the standard of work, one patient said, he had been on a luxury cruise where the food was not nearly so delicious or skilfully presented. Comments from those who enjoyed the fruits of the teams’ labours included “Absolutely brilliant” “A delicious array” “Scrumptious” “Lovely Jubbly” “Most enjoyable” and “Wow so much effort, so much care and attention.”

    Ian Ashton, Pilgrims Head of Catering Services said: “This shows the wonderful team spirit fostered within our catering staff, they truly value each other, this is what makes our hospice kitchens so successful.”

    Alison Griffiths, a Living Well Support Volunteer said: “Part of my role each week is to help support the patients who attend the Living Well Group with their lunch requirements. In the course of my doing so, I will often go and see the kitchen staff with requests on behalf of the patients. I have always found all the catering staff who work in Pilgrims Hospices kitchens to be extremely obliging and helpful. They always do their best to meet the individual needs and requests of the patients.

    “Whilst the kitchen staff are always very busy catering for the whole of the Hospice, the team are always cheerful and welcoming. As a volunteer it is clear how all the kitchen staff really make a significant contribution to the enjoyment of the patients who attend the Living Well Groups. The patients frequently ask me to pass on their compliments to everyone in the kitchen.”

    The Wellbeing Teams know that without volunteers like Alison, who give their time and skills so kindly, the groups run at the hospices would not be as successful or run as smoothly. There is nowhere quite like Pilgrims with such a beautiful team spirit and genuine care of people.

    Visit the Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing Programme more information on care and services.  Would you like to become a hospice volunteer?  Opportunities are listed on the website here:

    Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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. 


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