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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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New support group set up by Hospice at Home West Cumbria

Support is being increased for seriously ill people being looked after in their own homes and their carers.

Hospice at Home volunteers photo
Maegan Whiteley, family and bereavement volunteer and Karen Pirt, family and bereavement support worker

A new support group has been set up in Workington by Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

The charity’s home nurses care for more than 200 people in their own homes at the end of their lives.

Its family and bereavement staff and volunteers also run more than 200 sessions every year for those caring for someone with a life-limiting illness and their family. That back-up continues into bereavement.

Now its newest support group is using sessions never before tried by the team. They will have a patient first approach where the first hour of the day is exclusively for patients. They will be followed by a sesson for patients, carers and their families.

It’s hoped that the new format will give greater scope for people to discuss their thoughts and feelings around the sensitive issues of loss and bereavement.

Sessions will be led by hospice volunteer Carol Crook, who gives up to 17 hours per week to support the people of west Cumbria, and hospice family and bereavement support worker Karen Pirt.

Carol said: “Hospice is a brilliant organisation and I’m looking forward to helping those in need.

“I can’t wait to take on my new role alongside the existing one-to-one support I offer to hospice patients and their families.”

The weekly sessions will start at 10am on Friday, March 21, in the Derwent Room at 10 Finkle Street.

Meanwhile, the new Finkle Street base will also see new art therapy sessions being held there.

Starting from the middle of the month, they are open to anyone who uses the hospice service and are designed for up to 10 people. They’re aimed at letting people express their thoughts and feelings in a creative and caring environment.

Hospice volunteer Maegan Whiteley, a student at the University of Darby, will be leading the sessions along with Karen Pirt.

Maegan, who’s originally from Canada, is currently studying for a masters degree in therapeutic art, is on placement with the Cumbrian charity.

She said: “I’m very aware that there’s such a great need for these services in west Cumbria.

“It’s great to be part of an organisation that cares about people as much as I do. Once I graduate I hope to continue working in this area and I’ll definitely be continuing my volunteering at least on a part time basis.”

Hospice at Home West Cumbria needs to raise nearly £1 million-a-year to maintain and develop its services. A quarter of this comes from the NHS. The rest has to be raised by the charity through its fundraising.

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