I want to update all of our patients, families and supporters on how St Wilfrid’s has been faring in the recent period and how we are moving forward after the initial Covid-19 surge.

Our services

Throughout the whole period of lockdown and since, we have continued to provide essential support to patients and families in our Inpatient Unit, through our Community Nursing and Care at Home teams and our 24/7 Nurse Line. All of our teams continue to be busy and overall patient reach was around 14% higher in the period from April to June compared with a year ago. I want to say thank you to our employees and volunteers who have kept going during this time – you are amazing!

Our Wellbeing Centre closed at the beginning of lockdown and remains closed for the time being. However, we have continued to support our Wellbeing patients individually via telephone and video conference. We have also developed further information and support on our website, including training films on subjects such as breathlessness and relaxation. You can access this information here. In addition, we are running some online group sessions. We are hoping to reintroduce individual Wellbeing appointments in the hospice in the coming weeks.

Our Bereavement Counselling team is currently offering counselling support to our wider community, not just those who we have been supporting through hospice care. Please follow the link here to find further details about how to access this support. We also continue to take referrals for bereavement counselling for children and young people via our Seahorse Project.

We have also been expanding our team of Community Support Volunteers, who offer befriending and other social support to patients in the community. This has been largely by telephone but our team is now starting to do home visits again in a socially-distanced way and following a risk assessment.

We’re very conscious of the challenges that care homes have faced during this whole period and we are reaching out to them with a range of support, for both staff and residents.

The hospice building and café

We continue to restrict visitors to the hospice building at the current time. Many of our administrative workforce are continuing to work from home for at least part of the working week.  It’s important that we maintain a very high level of infection control and we are therefore still placing a limit on visitors to patients in our Inpatient Unit, allowing up to two nominated individuals to visit once a day.

These individuals will be notified to our nursing team upon the patient’s admission, with the possibility to change the nominated individuals but no more than once a week. All visitors are required to comply with the infection control measures we have in place, including the wearing of PPE at all times. We will only allow visits from these nominated individuals.

I know how much people are looking forward to the café reopening. It was very much the heartbeat of the hospice pre-lockdown and we miss that community feel and buzz. We are working on this and in the initial phase, as with other eating places, it is likely to be on a pre-booking basis so that we can manage numbers. We will keep you in touch.

Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who has supported the hospice during recent months, when our normal fundraising and events programme has been severely disrupted. We are incredibly grateful to all of you.

We are delighted that we can go ahead with our annual fundraiser, Starlight Stroll, on 12th September. The team has done a brilliant job to organise this in a socially-distanced way and also to give you an opportunity to take part remotely if that is your wish. There is further information about how this will work and how to sign up here.

Our shops have now been open a few weeks and trade is beginning to pick up. Once again, the retail team has worked incredibly hard to ensure a safe shopping experience for our customers. If you have not already had the opportunity, please call in at one of our three shops in Eastbourne or in Seaford, Hailsham, Uckfield and Heathfield (the latter has restricted opening hours). Thank you also to everyone who has been donating goods – unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of donations and to infection control procedures, we are having to restrict opening times at our Donation Centre in Moy Avenue. However, we are now starting to collect good quality furniture donations. You can find information about shop and Donation Centre opening, or how to arrange a collection here.

St Wilfrid’s Community Group

The St Wilfrid’s Community Group on Facebook continues to grow and now has almost 700 members. It has been a great way for people to stay in touch with one another. Please take a look and contribute your own message – details here.

Support us

The disruption to our normal fundraising activity is likely to continue for many months, so we are hugely grateful for whatever help you can give us, through direct donations, your own fundraising efforts, or donations of supplies and equipment. Find out how you help and get involved here.  Thank you.

With best wishes


David Scott-Ralphs

Chief Executive

If would like to donate please click here