Weston Hospicecare opens transformed facility.

Date Published: 29th September 2023

Community to benefit from improved support as Weston Hospicecare opens transformed facility

Weston Hospicecare has today (29 September) officially opened its new Day Services facility within Jackson-Barstow House in Uphill following a major redevelopment – a move that will transform care in the region by providing patients with improved access to specialist care and quality of support after a life-limiting illness diagnosis.

The Day Services allow patients to visit the hospice weekly and have access to a range of activities, complementary therapies, specialist information and advice, medical consultations, and peer support.

The charity has made huge changes to its Day Services setting by demolishing parts of the old building and putting in place a new physical environment and facilities to create a state-of-the-art facility.

Physical alterations of the previously outdated spaces also include a major redesign of the room layouts and updated decor.

The hospice serves patients and their families living between Clevedon, Burnham-on-Sea and Cheddar encompassing Weston-super-Mare.

The redevelopment, which was only made possible by third party funding, means the hospice will now be able to move forward with plans to evolve and grow its Day Services, thus better supporting patients and service users living at home and in other community settings.

Paul Winspear, Chief Executive at Weston Hospicecare, says: “This is a significant investment for the hospice which will transform the way we offer care and support to all our patients, most especially those living in the community.

“We’ll be better equipped to help local people with a palliative diagnosis to live fuller lives for longer, by accessing our care earlier. The new environment is modern yet homely, calming yet clinically-sound in every respect, and more appealing to all ages.

“It’s with sincere gratitude I thank Roger and Georgina Nightingale. Without their generous support, this project would not have started.

“In addition, several other key funders supported us in delivering this project which everyone at the hospice is extremely grateful. 

“We have appointed a Day Services Manager to bring the new facilities fully to life and develop our plans to enhance and expand our care provision.”

A thorough consultation with patients, staff, volunteers, and professionals was undertaken prior to directing an architect to use the existing space as a canvas to create a state-of-the-art facility which has a modern feel. 

Jen Wakefield, the new Day Services Manager, adds: “The new facility will help to change the perception and experience of hospice care.

“We will be able to offer an evolved Day Hospice programme, Out-Patient Services and Enrichment Activities, all of which will be of great benefit to patients, family members, carers and health care professionals.”

Local residents Roger and Georgina Nightingale kindly provided a generous donation to kick-start the project. That seed funding enabled us to secure further gifts and donations from a number of trust funds, other hospice and our NHS commissioners. 

Terry Vanburg, a patient who has already used the new service, says: “I expected it to be nice, but you know, the floor is amazing. The TV is great, everything. You look around and you keep thinking, oh, blimey, you know, that's nice.

“I came in this morning and the big TV screen was on. There was a big aquarium on. I thought ‘oh my god, look at that’. I just sat back and relaxed for a while. 

Terry’s condition means it is difficult for him to relax. He continues: “It's hard to kind of express what that does unless you've felt it.

“Because out there (when Terry is not at the hospice) it's a bit of a struggle most of the time.

“I feel very fortunate to have had what we've been given over the time I've been coming.

“We're going into a luxury place where we can sit and relax, and people want to help. You know, the minute you come into this place, somebody's always there to jump in.

“It's like an ongoing gift. It doesn't cost us anything. We come here and we get fed and watered and entertained. I mean, come on, it's like, where would you get that anywhere else.

“It's the same amazing day hospice but in a fresher, much fresher environment.”

Weston Hospicecare provides all of its services free of charge to its patients and their families.

It costs £5.5million every year to keep the hospice running and less than 20% of that is provided by the government.

This means that community support through fundraising, volunteering and sales made in the charity’s stores are vital to support the funding of the remaining 80%.

Stewart Castle, Chair of the Uphill Village Society was honoured to attend to opening on behalf of the society and village and see for himself the quality of the transormation and the wonderful facilities now available.