Recently, a small group from our EU office was invited to visit our local charity, the Trinity Hospice.
The hospice is probably the first in the world and was founded as the Gods Hospice in 1891 and later changed its name to Trinity Hospice. It raised the first charity in an appeal on Christmas day in a Times newspaper ad asking to provide a home “for the man who is neither curable nor incurable but simply dying”.
Waiting for the number 37 bus the four of us, Sofia, Elly, Anthony and I, had no Idea what a hospice looked like from the inside. Curiosity and expectations grew as our bus finally arrived and Anthony was pointing the sights from the back row of the bus heading to Clapham Common.
From the street, Trinity Hospice is an unassuming building with a small parking lot. But only once we walked inside and were greeted by our lovely host Clare, did we realise the sheer size of the building.
“So what do you want to see first?” asked Clare. The puzzled looks on our faces told her to start walking and we followed.
The anticipated image in my mind’s eye of an NHS hospital décor with creaky linoleum floors was replaced by a modern open plan interior, where every detail was designed for one purpose – to make the lives of terminally ill patients a little bit better.
The corridors are wide, dotted with sitting areas with large windows facing the garden, the rooms are designed for comfort and dignity for patients that need help to move around, the mattresses prevent bed sores, the showers accommodate wheelchairs and the windows face the garden. There was even an Xbox in one area, which Clare used to remind us that terminally ill patients are not necessarily old. They could be young, parents, teenagers and even children. Other amenities included are activity workshops for arts and crafts, a hairdresser and a coffee shop.
Clare led us out into the garden, we were amazed by the sheer beauty even at the end of the winter. It was truly unexpected to see such a garden. “All the maintenance is being done by volunteers” Clare explained, and patients enjoy walking around and sitting here.
Trinity Hospice’s activity is not only in-house. The majority of their activity is actually in support of patients who are at home, where most terminally ill patients would like to spend their last days. The Hospice employs about 70 nurses who travel around London in support of around 2000 terminally ill patients a year. Their help at patients’ homes is far more than anyone can envision and the charity’s role is to fund the nurses as well as the running of the hospice. The ratio of inpatients to patients at home supported by the hospice is 1:14.
“Don’t tell a fund raiser that you like sport” Clare warned us jokingly. It costs £10m to maintain the hospice’s services, £3m are given by the NHS and the rest comes from fundraising.
To help Trinity Hospice raise the remaining £7m, we could take part in charity events from galas at the garden through golf events to endurance sports, such as the London Marathon, and the Sunflower bike ride from London to Paris, but you don’t have to be a top athlete to support, as Elly already started the ball rolling with her welsh cakes sale.