We’ve raised over £11k for Dorothy House
As a group we have now been supporting Dorothy House for almost 3 years, and in that time have raised over £11,000. This is an astounding amount of money, which after my tour of the Winsley Hospice this week, I can say with confidence is going to a fantastic cause.
When I first arrived, I was immediately struck by the tranquillity of the landscape; located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the house has panoramic views of the Winsley hills, which still looked beautiful despite a thick blanket of fog.
The house itself has its own sort of beauty, half of it being an old school and the other half a modern extension of wood and glass, to take advantage of the breath-taking views.
Dorothy House Hospice Tour
When you think of a hospice, you may imagine a clinical looking space, not unlike a hospital. But as I entered reception, it was clear to me that Dorothy House is the complete opposite; the space was warm, light and airy. Everyone I saw had a smile on their face and it felt more like a hotel reception! As I was greeted by Henrietta, Corporate Fundraiser at the House, I commented on this and she said it reminds her daughter of a spa – this demonstrates exactly how peaceful and calming the atmosphere is.
Henrietta first gave me a tour of the house, taking me down the bright, colour coded halls – designed for patients suffering with dementia who may otherwise find the building hard to navigate – to show me the many rooms created especially with the patients and their families in mind.
The house includes gyms, a craft room and a multi-faith chapel (which arguably is the most stunning room I saw, surrounded by glass). Despite the House being for adult patients only, there was even a playroom for young relatives, adorned with thank you cards made by the children. This was where Henrietta told me about the ongoing support Dorothy House offers to family, before and even years after the death of a loved one.
To not disturb patients staying at the hospice, we didn’t go to see the bedrooms; however, I was told they all have the best views across the gardens. Around 10 patients may stay at one time in the rooms, which have en-suite facilities and easy wheelchair access to the grounds.
Patients usually stay here for 7 to 10 days, whether this is to give a full-time carer a break, have needs assessed or for the last few days of their lives. However, it may also be to make memories – one patient even had a girl’s night with her closest friends hosted by the hospice!
As we continued to talk, Henrietta told me about the many services Dorothy House offer and some of the challenges they face around common misconceptions about the care. I realised it is so much more than the in-house care I had seen on the tour.
“Hospice at Home”, where respite, crisis and end of life care is provided in the patient’s home, saw a 33% increase in visits in 2010/2019, making it one of the largest services provided. Group workshops for patients or relatives to support each other are also popular.
Another misconception is that hospice care is only provided right at the end of a person’s journey; in fact, Dorothy House may support patients for months or even years before this stage.
NHS funding for Hospices
All of this does not come cheap; there is little NHS funding for hospices, so for every £1 from the NHS, £5 must be raised. There is no charge for those using the service to make it accessible for all. Therefore, Dorothy House relies on donations, sales from their stores amongst other ventures such as their recently launched brand of premium products promoting wellbeing, from candles to skincare, Ubiety, where all profit goes to the hospice.
Upon reflection, I started to appreciate how Dorothy House’s impact extends far beyond the care provided to the patients and even their families; fundraising events bring together the whole community, volunteering programmes combat loneliness, and corporate fundraising bonds teams over that warm feeling you get through doing something good.
It also struck me how aligned our values are with that of Dorothy House; by giving up our time to volunteer for activities such as the Christmas tree collection, or buying a coffee from our machine, we are playing a part in providing a patient access to outstanding end of life care, relating to our Value “Where patients come first”. Through our contributions as a team, we are also demonstrating the Community aspect of “Our commitment to you”.