Jenny Fogarty, Lead for St Christopher’s CARE, shares her hopes and dreams for our new education centre and reveals her wish to see the whole community use it to shape the end of life care experience that’s meaningful to them.
When did you start at St Christopher’s?
I started at the hospice on 1 September 2020.
What attracted you to the job?
I was looking for a job that’s grounded in the community with the potential also to reach a national and international audience. I also wanted to lead a team that could work creatively to make a difference. My father died in a hospice when I was at school, so it’s meant I’ve always known the potential of hospices and now I have the opportunity to help shape that here at St Christopher’s.
What have you learnt so far?
I’ve learnt that organisations are about people; that the magic is the people in the organisation. There is an incredible mix of people here in the hospice, and there’s a real diversity of thought which helps inspire huge creativity. I’ve discovered a great appetite amongst the team for the work we’re dedicated to and together we’re creating a dynamic curriculum that will ensure the programme we deliver will be vibrant and exciting in every way.
I’ve also learned to think about death and dying in a different way. Before starting work here I used to think of death as an event. Now I realise it is a process for which you can prepare and think about in advance instead of just reacting to the fallout. That realisation is what’s inspiring my vision for the centre – to help society plan for death as much as it does for birth.
St Christopher’s CARE is a sustainably designed, three-storey building incorporating a number of flexible learning spaces
Can you describe the new building and any special features?
St Christopher’s CARE is a sustainably designed, three-storey building incorporating a number of flexible learning spaces, including a lecture theatre, library, atrium, mezzanine tech area, skills lab, bright meeting rooms and fabulous roof garden which is ideal as a sensory space for young people in particular. The whole building is incredibly light, with floor to ceiling glass. I really see it as a wonderful space for people to come and learn in as well as to experience the full range of emotions when they think about death, dying and loss. It’s also perfectly designed to support virtual teaching so people can come together to learn in a Covid-secure way.
Importantly, it’s very much a community space not just training centre; a place that represents the community. That means we’ll be looking to work with our community to understand more about what they need and how they see themselves using the space, whether that’s through community groups or working with artists through exhibitions, for example.
What do you hope St Christopher’s CARE can achieve?
It’s about creating a space for you to explore living with dying and loss. That means everyone, members of the public as much as professionals. It’s about everyone learning from each other so they can create the end of life experience that’s meaningful for them.
We’re committed to providing high quality learning opportunities for people wherever they are, whatever their background and whatever their previous learning experience.
We’re committed to providing high quality learning opportunities for people wherever they are, whatever their background and whatever their previous learning experience
What are you most excited about in terms of the education offer at St Christopher’s?
I am excited about redeveloping our programme to reflect learner experiences and maximise the opportunities for virtual learning. With the new centre, there’s a chance to both build on the fantastic programme that’s been built up here over many years and to create something new.
I’m most excited by the willingness here to acknowledge that we don’t own all the knowledge and expertise. We have as much to learn from the community as they do from us. That is what I hope will be reflected in the centre as whole – a shared space where people can come to sit, to learn or to talk. We’ll be hosting a series of events where we’ll be looking to connect with the community so that we can work together to establish what the world needs from end of life care.