Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

At St Luke’s we care for adults living in central & southern Cheshire who are suffering from cancer and other life limiting illnesses, serving a population of around 280,000. The Hospice opened in 1988 thanks to the incredible foresight of & donations received from our local community. 28 years later we continue to offer 24 hour care to local people, as well as our services offered in Day Hospice, out-patient clinics, complementary therapies, bereavement support and many other services.

Today, donations mean more than ever; we are a charity which means all our services are provided free of charge, so over 80% of our running costs come from donations.

We are often called a small Hospice with a big heart because we passionately want to make a difference to the quality of people's lives; enabling them to live rather than exist. We are trusted by people when they are at their most vulnerable. Each year we support around 1,000 local adults & children through our varied services & we constantly look to develop new services as the needs of our community change.

At St Luke's we help to build sustainable, compassionate, resilient communities & have a long history of building trusting relationships. When it comes to developing new services we listen to the community & work in partnership with others to ensure the services we develop are needed & cost effective. We want to work with people, using our skills & knowledge to help guide & inspire them into action.

We recognise that the traditional model of hospice care is based on the cancer disease trajectory & does not reflect the majority of our communities’ experience. As healthcare has improved our life expectancy has increased, but so has the likelihood of living our final years with multiple life-limiting, often complex conditions that may isolate or disconnect us from our local community.

We support the thinking of Prof Allan Kellehear & Dr Julian Abel who believe that the last phase of life may be years rather than months, encompassing care-giving & loss that is mainly social with medical aspects, rather than medical with social aspects. "We envisage teams of carers, families, friends, neighbours and volunteers working directly in localities with palliative care nurses to provide support in multiple ways for the last phases of life," they explain. They propose a Public Health Palliative Care Model, working together to build sustainable capacity to care for each other & recognise that dying, loss & bereavement are inevitable parts of the human experience.

Here at St Luke’s we have already started to work in this way, encouraging an ‘enabling’ approach by working in partnership with others in our communities. According to research from Age, UK around 1 million people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone. We have addressed this issue by developing a variety of engagement & befriending models to try & reduce social isolation. These are mainly for people who are elderly & are living with frailty, with or without dementia. The aim is to match a volunteer from their own local community who will visit & re-connect them to their locality.

We work in partnership with other third sector organisations to provide this in three local towns. In this model, we fund one volunteer co-ordinator who recruits local volunteers to become befrienders. At the moment our three volunteer co-ordinators have 85 volunteer befrienders’ aged 20-80 visiting isolated adults living in our area.

Our model is working very well but it is still a service & limited by the capacity of the volunteer co-ordinator. Therefore we would like to fund a full-time community engagement worker on a 12 month contract who would operate across our catchment area, working with groups & helping them to build a compassionate community of their own, incorporating befriending & other supportive services. A grant of £25,000 would fund a full-time role, travel across the area & volunteer DBS checks.

St Luke's (Cheshire) Hospice

Location: Winsford

We are proud that this our befriending scheme makes such an enormous & lasting impact to local people. Last year Katie age 34 started visiting Jemima age 45, she said "without St Luke's I probably wouldn't still be here, I definitely wouldn't be of sound mind, let alone happy & content".
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