The COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to a scheduled July opening for the new Thames Hospice, which is situated beside Bray Lake in Berkshire.
But this has not deterred Rotarians from the region for supporting the ambitious £22 million project after lockdown.
It’s a community project which has drawn widespread support from clubs across the Thames Valley, and it is hoped that the facility will open this autumn to provide both in-community and 24-7 in-patient care.
Currently, the existing premises have been given over to taking care of NHS patients.
However, shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown, Rotarians attending the District 1090 conference at Newbury racecourse, agreed to a second project by funding a Rotary family courtyard garden, when patients and their families can enjoy undisturbed, quiet time together.
Derek Smith, from Cookham Bridge Rotary, who is leading the project, said: “The structure of phase 2 is planned differently and will involve clubs working hand-in-hand, both for fund-raising and towards a Rotary Global Grant.
“This also brings in the requirement for obtaining international partners to support the application and the raising of funds. We already have a total of £4,500 pledged from the Rotary clubs of Mainz and Ingelheim in Germany.”
Over recent years, the objectives of the hospice movement have moved from the provision of end of life care to a broader care and support of people with life-threatening conditions.
Importantly, this care also extends to families, offering them crucial support.
The Thames Valley Hospice charity was formed in 2005 following the merger of the Thames Valley Hospice in Windsor and the Paul Bevan Cancer Foundation in Ascot.
The current Thames Hospice had outgrown is present capacity to the extent that some staff use a small broom cupboard as an office.
Something had to be done to meet the increasing needs of the community with more than 5,000 deaths a year in the community, a figure set to rise by 20% over the next decade. This led to the realisation that a multi-million-pound facility was required.
The new £22 million Thames Hospice currently under construction on an eight-acre site in Bray is close to completion.
When compared with the existing site in Windsor, the new premises will have 50% additional in-patient capacity, with 28 bedrooms, each with its own terrace garden.
There will also be a significant increase in on-site and community-based care facilities, as well as training for staff.
The ground-breaking, state-of-the-art services which Thames Hospice will be able to provide, will become a model for future hospice growth.
Rotary support for the new hospice is being run by Derek Smith and Alan Clare from Ascot Rotary.
“We now have 14 clubs from District 1090 supporting the project which is divided into two phases,” added Derek.
“The first phase is near completion and Rotary is providing all of the garden furniture for use by the patients and family at the new site, including for the terrace gardens provided outside each in-patient room.
“Phase 1 will be completed by clubs raising and pledging funds individually towards the £25,000 total cost.”
“The objective of phase 2 is to take responsibility later this year for creating a secluded Rotary” family courtyard garden.”
Derek added that while many Rotarians involved with the Thames Hospice initiative had experience of running an outbound Rotary Global Grant Project, running an inbound Global Grant project was a totally new experience.
“However, with many of our clubs having had previous involvement with the hospice, or members who have had family or friends who have been patients at Thames Hospice, it has not been difficult to obtain support,” he explained.
“It would, of course, be possible for individuals and clubs to go it alone to support the new facility, but we are intent on maximising our provision and showing what it is possible to achieve by pooling resources and working together to maximise the power of Rotary.”
The Thames Valley Rotarians are looking for wider support from Districts across Great Britain & Ireland.
For more details contact Derek Smith at: email@example.com