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.
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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.
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.
27th July 2023
Wellbeing team get well deserved recognition
Congratulations to Pilgrims Hospices Wellbeing team, on being selected as a finalist for the prestigious NAPA Member Awards! This recognition is a testament to the dedication, expertise, and exceptional contributions the team has made, in the field of patient wellbeing. Being among the top contenders for this esteemed award is a true honour and a reflection of the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in patient care at Pilgrims Hospices.
It’s wonderful to see that the National Activity Providers Association has extended their warmest congratulations on your outstanding achievements. Being nominated for The Activity Team Award is a significant accomplishment and highlights the positive impact the team has made in the activity provider industry.
The awards ceremony at the Museum of Brands in London, which is set to take place in October, promises to be a memorable event. It will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all the finalists and to network with others in the industry. Pilgrims Wellbeing team have earned this recognition, and it’s a well-deserved moment to be acknowledged for their hard work and contributions.
Best of luck to the Wellbeing team at the awards ceremony! Regardless of the outcome, the recognition itself is a testament to the collective effort and commitment of your team in providing excellent patient care and promoting wellbeing. Enjoy the celebration and congratulations once again on this fantastic achievement!
12th April 2023
The Blackbird Project continues to soar at Pilgrims Hospices
Sheena and Nick Jackaman lost their son Ben in 2017, when he was only 34 years old. He was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury. As with many bereaved families, they realised how much they missed the sound of Ben’s voice of which they had no recent recordings.
They, his sister Anna, family and their friends raised funds in his memory, in order to create a legacy project that would allow grieving families to listen to the voice of their loved one, and feel comforted at any time.
From this idea, the Blackbird Project was born and co-founded with Pilgrims Hospices. The project name came from the family’s love of The Beatles track ‘Blackbird’ which Ben played for them on his guitar before he was diagnosed with cancer.
From Spring 2019, Blackbird facilitators at the hospice have been trained to work with patients to record messages, poems, thoughts, recipes, details of their favourite music or anything that the patient would like to say.
After recording, the memory messages are downloaded onto a little blackbird-shaped USB stick, and given to the person who the patient has nominated.
Sheena and Nick continue to support Pilgrims, and more recently have donated beautiful Blackbird paintings to our three hospices, and printed cards that are for sale to raise important funds for patient care and services.
They said: “Our friend Caroline Brett is a talented artist who lives in Spain. She painted the wonderful blackbirds for us as a surprise gift. Greetings cards have also been printed from the original paintings, to sell and raise funds for The Blackbird Project. We are delighted to have her support with the beautifully detailed prints; we still feel surrounded by Ben’s love. Ben was highly creative, working in graphic design, and had a gift for music. I’m sure he would be very proud of our blackbird choice, and our way of recognising the compassion and care provided by Pilgrims Hospices who took us all under their wings at the most difficult of times. We will continue to raise funds in Ben’s memory, especially to support people who are facing similar challenges in their bereavement.”
In folklore, the blackbird is the first bird to sing in the dawn chorus, and the last bird singing as night falls. Its call is distinctive and is instantly recognisable, making it a very appropriate name for the project.
Pilgrims Hospices cares for thousands of people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.
5th April 2023
Broadstairs Beavers get creative with Pilgrims Hospices
The generous 11th Broadstairs Beavers, visited Pilgrims Hospice Thanet with Tracey Garnier, to present their donation of £200. The Beavers had been saving money each week, to help support people who need important Pilgrims’ care.
They were interested to find out more about activities that take place in the Therapy Centre, and enjoyed a craft session during their visit.
Jane Stanley, Wellbeing Practitioner said:
“It was such a great evening! We had prepared packs of 3D desktop beavers to make, and coiling dreamcatcher snakes to decorate. After a brief overview of some of the Wellbeing groups here at Pilgrims, the Beavers ‘beavered’ on with the crafts. They enjoyed the cheque handover and having their photograph taken. We also had a new Beaver invested into the group, and they all marched out happily holding their beavers and snakes.
“They loved hearing about the groups we run for patients, and seeing the warm safe space of our Therapy Centre, while enjoying the cutting and sticking crafts. They thought about a message to put in their desktop beaver; one wrote a message for someone who had been unkind to them at school, and was going to give the beaver to them as a gift.
“The evening showed the kindness of this community group, donating a fantastic sum to the good work done at Pilgrims.”
Tracey Garnier, Unit Clerk continued:
“I am Tracey (Tic Tac) my Beaver name, and I work as the Unit Clerk in Pilgrims Hospice Thanet. I joined the hospice team a year ago, after a career change, having previously worked in education for 26 years as a learning support assistant. My other assistant leader also works at the hospice – Caroline (Tu Tu) is part of the fundraising team, and joined our group 5 years ago, after coming on a Beavers District Hike which was donating money to Pilgrims Hospices.
“Each week, we encourage the Beavers to bring in small change which is collected and then donated to a charity. Over the COVID period, we were not allowed to meet so this all stopped.
Tracey added: “I approached Billy Williams, Pilgrims Wellbeing Lead, to see if it would be possible for the Beavers to visit the therapy area, and undertake an art activity. I wanted the Beavers to see how their donation would help to support local people who need care; helping them to understand having seen the physical place.
“Jane has been amazing and came up with some ideas and beavered away to make sure everything was ready for the evening. We asked the Beavers some general questions, then asked Jane to tell us what it is that happens in that area. They were very interested and surprised by the variety of things. We then started the art activity which they really enjoyed.
“I hope to incorporate some other activities in our coming sessions, and hope to visit the hospice again. Watch this space.”
Caroline Dixon, from Pilgrims said:“We had a fabulous time with our Broadstairs Beavers, they were really keen to learn, and by visiting the hospice, it’s given them an opportunity to find out first-hand about the special care we offer here.”
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.
30th March 2023
Kent Police visit Pilgrims Hospices to empower patients to stay safe
Emma Swietochowski-Hay, Kent Police’s Fraud Prevention Co-ordinator, was invited to talk at the Living Well Group in the Therapy Centre at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury, by Kim and Kelly, Wellbeing Practitioners.
The talk was to highlight how criminal activity faces us all, and how we can make simple changes to our reactions, and practices to help to keep safe and secure when it comes to fraudulent activities.
Emma has hands-on experience, working as a uniformed Police Community Support Officer in Ashford. She is passionate about passing on her experience of local crime, and how to take steps to prevent this, by empowering vulnerable people within our community, to keep them safe and keep criminals at bay.
Emma said: “This role is so important within our community, helping people to keep safe from scams and fraudsters is vital in today’s world of the internet, and telephone criminals. My work helps people to understand how to make sensible choices and decisions when being approached by potential criminals, and how to report those trying to scam them via the internet and email.”
The talk was well received and created a lot of discussion within the group. Emma covered scam calls, text message scams, investment and romance fraud to name but a few. Most importantly, she reassured the group that no one person should ever feel embarrassed or unable to call the Fraud Police for help and advice, as this is an all too common practice, and gave the group useful numbers to contact.
Advice was given regarding banking, internet, remote access and courier fraud. She explained how to take appropriate measures to ensure people are speaking to the ‘right’ contact, and not unscrupulous scammers.
The Therapy Centre is a safe space, where patients and carers have mentioned how comfortable and at ease they feel when they arrive. This makes us really proud to be a part of Pilgrims and being able to make a difference to peoples’ wellbeing.
Kim and Kelly, Wellbeing Practitioners
The group commented how informative the session was, and that they realised the need to keep extra safe when storing information, and passwords online, and that they would be passing on the information they gained to their friends and family. They said that they had really enjoyed the session.
Kim and Kelly, Wellbeing Practitioners, said:
“Our groups are great fun, including creative and educational activities, enabling our patients and their carers to regain their identities and not feel overshadowed by their illness. The Therapy Centre is a safe space, where patients and carers have mentioned how comfortable and at ease they feel when they arrive. This makes us really proud to be a part of Pilgrims and being able to make a difference to peoples’ wellbeing. We enjoy helping people to ‘Live Well’, and the smiles and laughter we see during our groups.”
Pilgrims Wellbeing team run a wide variety of activities to support patients living with life-limiting conditions. Patients can join Pilgrims groups to improve their mobility, mental wellbeing, creativity and general interest.
Our Wellbeing Programme is free if you live in east Kent, and you have been diagnosed with a palliative illness. It aims to enhance your wellbeing, in mind and body.
Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to thousands of 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.
22nd March 2023
Time to Create: Springtime flower art
We like to include seasonal changes in our creative, art-based therapeutic groups.
As springtime approaches and the weather warms up, we focus on plants and flowers, being outside in nature, and acknowledging the beginning of a new season. This can be a very mindful and reflective experience.
When you sit outside in early spring, whether in your garden, a park or other public space, take a moment to absorb your surroundings:
What trees can you see with new buds or the beginnings of fresh leaves?
Are there blossom trees around?
Which flowers are beginning to bud?
Daffodils, bluebells and snowdrops are all signs that spring is fast approaching; can you see any of these?
Scents are also an important factor when spending mindful time within nature; can you smell the soil if it’s a damp, dewy morning? What about the smell of cut grass?
Scents can provoke memories, and taking note of different springtime smells helps you to remain focused in the moment.
It’s also interesting to take note of sounds when sitting peacefully. Can you hear birds tweeting? Can you hear squirrels rustling in the trees or the gentle hum of the first few bumblebees buzzing? Taking time to sit quietly looking, listening and absorbing the natural world around you is an excellent therapeutic technique that can help keep you focused on the present and the beauty of our natural world. This kind of mindful activity can help to reduce anxiety, relieve stress and provide a positive and peaceful mindset for the day ahead.
Let’s get crafty
What you’ll need
Assorted coloured card
A large embroidery needle
Mounting board with frame
Coloured embroidery thread
Assorted coloured tissue paper
People have utilised nature as creative inspiration for hundreds of years. In our springtime session, we used coloured card and tissue paper to create beautiful 3D floral artwork.
Start by choosing your colour scheme and decide which flowers you’d like to make. You don’t have to make the flowers realistic; you can be as colourful and creative as you like. Using a needle and embroidery thread, make holes in the tissue paper and poke them through your backing card. Rustle up the tissue paper to create a 3D effect. You can also use coloured embroidery thread for the stems of the flowers. Using PVA glue, stick down the design for the vase and any leaves, stems or flowers around the centre of the piece.
Keep building up your creation until you’re happy with it, and then set aside to let it dry before using a mounting board to frame the final design.