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Navigating through 2021 - October to December

The New Year is fast approaching but as 2021 draws to a close, we wanted to briefly look back and reflect on some of the brighter, more uplifting moments at the Hospice as we joined our patients, families, supporters and partners in navigating our way through the last 12 months.

Here we take a look at the fourth and final quarter of the year:

October

In October we celebrated Make a Will Month and we were fortunate to have a number of local solicitors waiving their usual will-writing fees in exchange for people making a donation to the Hospice. We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part not just during this month, but also throughout the year where different groups of solicitors offered this service in different months. You can find the current participating firms here.

Our Compassionate Neighbours team were delighted to resume face-to-face training in the heart of our community. With training having taken place online since the start of the pandemic, this new session at the Broadway Hotel in Letchworth was a positive step forward. You can find out more about our Compassionate Neighbours scheme and how to volunteer your time to help here.

We were also very pleased to welcome back seated exercise provision at our three wellbeing hubs in Stevenage (x2) and Royston. This was something that had to stop due to Covid restrictions but Hawthorne Centre staff and volunteers are now back delivering these non-clinical sessions. Already we can see the benefits with everyone working hard but still smiling and laughing. Discover more about our Wellbeing Hubs here.

November

November saw the return of our annual festival of remembrance, Lights of Life. After the pandemic saw last year’s Lights of Life service available online only, this year we were delighted to welcome more than 300 supporters to our Hospice garden to celebrate the start of the festival. The service included readings from staff, supporters and family members and included moments of reflection accompanied by a live musical performance. There was also the official switch-on of the Lights of Life Garden, showcasing breath-taking displays to enjoy.

More than 300 special stars, dedicated by supporters to loved ones, were hung in our garden for all to see and in the proceeding week we welcomed 315 supporters to the garden for private visits and further moments of reflection.

Dawn and Karen from our Hospice at Home Team told us, “We’ve been really fortunate tonight to have the luxury of coming back from our patient visits out in the community and taking part in this wonderful service. It’s such a wonderful service that makes us feel so proud to be part of the Hospice and do a job that we all absolutely love. Thank you to those who have donated and for your support. It means so much to us. We couldn’t do what we do without you.”

November also saw the most recent issue of our Open House newsletter published. This included the first-hand words of Dave opening describing his stay in our Inpatient Unit; Philip’s story, which spoke about how our dementia specialist Admiral Nurse Lucy supports people facing an end-of-life condition; how your support from visiting our shops, making purchases online and taking part in a whole host of challenges has benefitted the Hospice; and top tips for staying well this winter.

December

The final month of the year saw a brand-new spectacular Hospice event take place – Strictly Come Bhangra. Over 400 people enjoyed a great night out and helped raised thousands of pounds of vital funds at this show full of colour and sound as 10 acts performed a variety of Bhangra-inspired dance routines.

National Grief Awareness Week was held in the first week of December and we brought you an insight into the vital work of our Family Support Team, providing you with some important statistics about their work, some top tips about coping with bereavement and highlighting a rise in people seeking our support.

December also saw a wide variety of festive fundraising events in aid of the Hospice. Santa’s Grotto in Hitchin Market Square, another Santa’s Grotto in our House & Home shops in Letchworth and the Friends of Garden House Hospice Care Christmas Fayre at The Cloisters were all fantastic events, whilst we also saw hundreds of festively decorated tractors parade through Baldock, Letchworth and Hitchin in a new hugely popular event that saw people lining the streets in all three towns.

We also announced the return of our Muddy Mayhem 5k obstacle course next March, our Christmas Treecycling service and brought you festive messages from around the organisation ahead of the Christmas break, whilst highlighting how our services will remain open over the festive period as always.


Thanks for looking back at just some of our memories of 2021. We thank you for your continued support and wish you a Happy New Year.

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