Opening new doors for Derwentside Hospice

For 30 years, Willow Burn Hospice in Durham has been supporting adults who suffer with incurable illnesses.

As the only adult hospice in Derwentside, it provides nurse-led services that enables people with serious illnesses to make the very most out of life.

The team supports patients and clients who suffer from conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, breathing and heart conditions and, of course, cancer. More than 600 people benefit from the service each year.

Thanks to a recent grant of £8,570 from the Stanley Community Fund, managed by County Durham Community Foundation, the hospice was able to develop its work. They used the funding to recruit a registered nurse three days a week. As soon as they had recruited their new team member, Cherry, she began to run projects in the Sir Tom Cowie Wellbeing Centre for people accessing the day service.

Around 90 patients have already benefited from the new projects. The projects include 12-week focused programmes for target groups and “Tuesday Social” days.

Making a difference

Rachel Todd, from Willow Burn Hospice said: “This funding has made a really big difference to our patients.

“We were able to recruit our registered nurse, Cherry, who has really developed the service, along with her colleague Sharon. They have really brought the community into Willow Burn.

“Though we had to stop our day service due to Covid-19 earlier in the year, during this time we made sure we were there for our day service users and we offered wellbeing calls to keep in touch with them and find out if there was anything we could support them with.

We are pleased to say that our clients are all back now.”

Betty* is 85, lives alone in Consett, and has been attending the hospice for several years.

She suffered a heart attack four years ago and contacted pneumonia whilst she was in hospital. Since then she has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and osteoarthritis and now attends the breathlessness programme at the hospice every Thursday.

First class service

Betty said: “This day service makes a huge difference to my life and the service here is first class.

“I love the friendliness of the staff and everyone else. And I look forward to Thursdays more than anything, especially the music.

“I feel very safe whilst I am here, knowing staff are on hand and all the specialist equipment is there if I am struggling with my breathing.

“I hope that this service can continue and keep up the good standards that they have.”

Willow Burn Hospice is a charity based in Lanchester. It provides palliative and end of life care, including inpatient care, day services and bereavement counselling.