The past year has brought about unprecedented changes and challenges but what has never changed is the compassion and care Saint Francis Hospice has been giving to local people for 37 years.
On Friday 23rd July, the Hospice in Havering-atte-Bower celebrated its 37th birthday by presenting Long Service Awards to staff from across the charity who have served between 5 and 35 years.
This was followed by the burial of a time capsule in the Hospice grounds.
The capsule was purchased from prize money our Child and Family Therapist Emily Gray was awarded by the Jack Petchey Foundation for her outstanding work supporting bereaved children.
Photos of staff, volunteers and supporters, information about our services, a face mask, a copy of the Scoop – our staff and volunteer newsletter for 23rd July were placed inside, along with photos and writing by bereaved children under the care of Emily and fellow Child and Family Therapist Stella Christou.
“It is important for the children to have their work included into the capsule so their voice and experience of lockdown is shared,” said Emily.
“The pandemic impacted greatly on all of us and for children who were already grieving the loss of a loved one, they were experiencing even more loss during the pandemic.
“Not having the distraction of school and not being able to be with friends brought about feelings of confusion and anxiety for many children.
“Being able to express themselves and being heard during this time has been vital for young people.
“In the future, when the capsule is opened, we are hoping that people can learn more and learn from young peoples’ experience of loss during the pandemic.”
This was the second time capsule was buried at the Hospice. It will be placed alongside the time capsule interred in 2001 by our former chaplain Rev. Stephen Henwood and former Havering Mayor Maisie Whitelock. It included information about the Hospice’s history and work, along with a nurse’s uniform and a syringe driver.
Pam Court, Chief Executive Officer at the Hospice, said, “Today is a very special day in the Hospice’s history and it is our opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the Hospice and enabled us to be there for local people who need our experienced care.
“When the time capsule is opened in years to come, it will give people an insight into what life was like at Saint Francis Hospice in 2020/2021.
“The Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes, challenges and a funding crisis that no one could ever have foreseen.
“Yet despite everything, we have continued to reach out to care and support more people than ever.”
The Hospice also invited supporters to a virtual thank you evening where Medical Director Dr Corinna Midgley gave an update on a year through COVID-19 and how the Hospice has managed to deal with a global pandemic and a rise in need for its services.
Patron Sir Trevor Brooking spoke about why he supports the charity and Tina Briden, spoke about how the Hospice helped her and her family.
Pam also told supporters that with their support, Saint Francis will continue to look forward and be there to provide care and support to local people in the years to come.