This Hospice Care Week, we are launching a campaign to raise £200,000 to fit-out and start running a specialised, training Skills Lab for local people, in our brand new education building in Sydenham. The Skills Lab will be a space in which people of south east London who want to look after someone who is nearing the end of their life at home, can learn practical skills to support them. The aim is to make caring for someone at home less stressful and to enable good care to be more available to everyone.
Over the next twenty years, the number of people looking after a loved one at home will increase to more than 9 million people* but many carers don’t feel they have the knowledge or confidence to do this well, despite wanting to. Innovative sessions at our new purpose-built education centre, the Learning Hub, will provide coaching, information and support to families and carers, building the skills and confidence they need to give essential care at home.
Our new Skills Lab will give local people the confidence that they can provide care for their loved ones
Liz Bryan, Director of Education and Training says: “When we care for someone, we see them as an individual but also that they belong to social networks such as friends, family and community groups, who often want to play their part in looking after someone at the end of life but don’t always know how.”
“Our new Skills Lab will give local people the confidence that they can provide straight-forward care for their loved ones. We will focus on sharing skills such as how to wash and feed someone safely, and how to recognise and manage common symptoms at home. This means that with our support, many more dying people can choose to remain at home, where they feel comfortable and safe, for as long as possible. It’s all about living life well, even at the end of life.”
The £200,000 fundraising goal will fit-out the Skills Lab teaching zone with practical equipment and support training sessions to share skills with members of the public for the first time, not just professionals involved in end of life care.
The money raised will also furnish an open community space in the new building, where local groups can host meetings, students can come to study or members of the public can pop in for a coffee and see the difference that their donation has made to the thousands of people we are able to train.
We’ve already raised an incredible £6.2 million to build the Learning Hub structure, thanks to the generous donations from individuals as well as grant and trust giving organisations. Now, we are asking the public to get behind the very final stages of the project which will become a true resource for the community. This will allow us to teach and support over 2,000 carers, patients and families each year by 2022.
Diane Roberts, who is caring for her mother with the help of St Christopher`s, outlines the difference this support has made to her and her family: “At 90, my Mum has advanced dementia and is very frail. However, the Mum that I’ve known for 67 years is still in there and it’s crucial that in this really challenging stage in her life, she is cared for at home by people who love her. St Christopher’s makes this a genuine option by providing support and allowing me to feel competent in my caring role.”
The daily work of the hospice, which supports nearly 6,500 people across Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark each year, continues alongside the Learning Hub project. Each year the hospice has to raise £16 million towards their annual running costs of £22 million.
*Carers UK policy briefing
What your money could do
- £50 could pay for a 3 hour skills workshop for a carer or family member empowering them to care for a loved one at home
- £100 could pay for a training workshop for a local GP equipping them with the skills needed to best support patients living with a terminal illness
- £500 could pay for a local student to attend our week long Summer School programme where they will receive practical training from highly-qualified specialists and learn more about a career in care.
- £2,000 could pay for a specialist bed for our Skills Lab enabling us to teach carers, family members and professionals practical care skills to support someone at home.
Donate to the Learning Hub campaign
Monies raised through the public campaign will support the equipping and furnishing costs of the Learning Hub. Any residue will be redirected to general unrestricted income, to be used where it is most needed.