Pilgrims has three hospices in Canterbury, Thanet and Ashford; achieving founder Ann Robertson’s original aim of hospice care being available within 30 minutes drive of everyone in east Kent. (Awarded an OBE for this work, Ann Robertson is Lay Reader Emeritus at St. Mildred’s Tenterden)
Whether or not we have had cause to use or to visit it, most of us will know that our nearest hospice is based on the A20 on the south side of Ashford and will be grateful for the wonderful service it provides. Pilgrims Hospice, Ashford, opened its doors in January 2001 with an in-patient unit of 22 beds and daily provision for approximately 20 day patients, open 2 days a week. The hospice stands in four acres of land given over to formal gardens, featuring a lovely fountain and wildlife garden, complete with pond and meadow, for the enjoyment of both visitors and patients.
The aim of Pilgrims Hospices is to sustain, develop and deliver a full range of in-patient, day hospice, community support, bereavement and pastoral care from each of its three sites.
Their publicity explains “In order to achieve this, we need to carry out activities in four clearly defined but inter-linked areas, called Cornerstones.
Cornerstone One – Services: To ensure that the services delivered continue to be fully appropriate for the needs of patients, their families and carers.
Cornerstone Two – Finances: A key enabler of Cornerstone One is good financial management.
Cornerstone Three – Our People:To be renowned for the quality, expertise and professionalism of all staff and volunteers.
Cornerstone Four – Our Future:Pilgrims plans to face future challenges and opportunities, some of which are currently unknown, with enthusiasm and creativity.”
In all of this, the focus of all care is the patient, families and carers.
Death and dying is still a taboo subject for many, so Pilgrims Hospices launched a year-long campaign in October with the aim of helping more local people living with terminal illnesses, and to help dispel the myths about hospice care, to make sure everyone who could benefit gets the support they need.
Pilgrims Hospices is an independent charity and relies on the generosity of its local communities. This year Pilgrims Hospices needs to raise in excess of £9 million to continue providing free palliative care and support to patients and their families coping with life-limiting illnesses.