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Words: Caroline Bingham
Photography: Caroline Bingham
Featured in the August 2011 issue

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The staff who work from Grantham Hospice have recently returned to the Barrowby Road site after a yearlong extension and refurbishment of the building, which was commissioned by St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice.

The organisation now operates eight hospices across the county and Grantham Hospice is the area hub to support services delivered to communities in Grantham and the southwest of Lincolnshire.

“Our doors are now open” said Sarah-Jane Mills, chief executive, “for the community of Grantham and beyond to call in any time to see our new support centre, or to find out about the help we can offer people with life limiting illness and their carers.”

The £1.3m project was kick-started by a ‘Brick in the Wall’ community fund-raising appeal which totalled £40,000 within nine months and for which donations are still coming in.

“The building still retained many of the interior features from when it was originally opened as the GIFTS (Grantham Initiative for Terminal Care Support),” Sarah explained, “and the building did a fantastic job for all those years. We wanted to respond to the way our support is delivered in the twenty-first century by updating and improving the facilities for the whole community.”

In a renovation still in sympathy with the original Victorian architecture, walls have been knocked down to create larger, more open-plan, areas and the dark panelling has been stripped out. A large atrium now accommodates a central stairwell and a modern extension, which is being called The Meeting Place, is fully glazed along two walls to give views across the large garden and fields beyond and access to a terrace and surrounding walkway.

Access is the keyword as Grantham and Lincoln Hospices become the flagship models for all the other hospices in the county. People are living much longer with life threatening illness thanks to the advances in medical science and Grantham Hospice now offers Hospice at Home seven days a week instead of five. This is possible through working with day care professionals and the Marie Curie Rapid Response team at night.

The Hospice has its own specialist team of doctors, nurses and carers and patients come either through the clinic or self-referral. It is especially to encourage this self-referral route that the centre has been designed. The centre can offer not only medical treatment but also advice, therapy and support. The centre aims to deliver a less prescribed and a more fluid range of services that will respond to each person, each family and their situation.

“Sometimes walking in and asking for help can be the most difficult thing,” explained Sarah-Jane, “and we want to welcome anyone whether they just want to talk to someone with time to listen or have a pressing concern. We can help to give people the confidence to care for a loved one and a relaxing and caring environment for a break in the day when they need it.”

The Hospice has many professionals working from the centre but could not function without the support of the many volunteers who conduct therapies, classes and give their time to those who need it.

“We are very lucky to be working in this example of exemplary architecture,” concluded Sarah-Jane, “but we are here for the whole community to help them on site if we can or to point them to the right connection. We had over 350 people attend our official opening in June but we want to welcome more visitors so that word spreads of this marvellous new centre and the help and support we have to offer.”

St Barnabas Grantham Hospice
86 Barrowby Road
Grantham
NG31 8AF
Tel: 01476 591010
Website: grantham@stbarnabashospice.co.uk

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