St Christopher’s Hospice in South London was honoured to welcome its Royal Patron, HRH Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, to its brand-new Centre for Awareness and Response at End of Life (known as St Christopher’s CARE) yesterday.
The Princess joined trustees, supporters and donors who have made the creation of St Christopher’s CARE possible, unveiling a plaque on the roof terrace of the Centre and enjoying an extensive tour of the new facilities. Her Royal Highness also revealed a sculpture tribute in the grounds, dedicated to the numerous donors who have contributed to the project.
St Christopher’s CARE is a £6.5million state-of-the-art education centre; and a space for people locally, nationally and internationally to explore, discuss and improve experiences associated with living, dying and end of life care. Designed by MillsPower Architecture, the centre is set in the beautiful landscaped grounds of St Christopher’s Hospice and comprises of a sustainable three-storey community building, housing a number of flexible learning spaces such as a lecture theatre, library, skills lab, digital support area, various meeting rooms and a roof-top garden.
During her visit Her Royal Highness met with various groups and individuals who were delighted to speak to her in detail about the part they’d played in the creation of St Christopher’s CARE. Staff and volunteers also enjoyed showing the Princess their achievements, projects and plans throughout the past, present and future; including an introduction to the Lantern Model of nursing, an overview of various child and adult bereavement services, a brief insight into various community and care home outreach programmes, and St Christopher’s tailored clinical approach to palliative care, dementia and frailty.
Giving a short impromptu speech at the end of the day, Princess Alexandra said:
“Thank you to everyone for inviting me to share in such a special day, and congratulations to the team at St Christopher’s and all of the generous sponsors and partners who made this astonishing building possible. It is a true pleasure to be here with you all to see it open.”
Neil Goulden, Chair of Trustees at St Christopher’s, then thanked Princess Alexandra and all of the people who helped to bring the vision to fruition, saying “Thank you, everyone, for helping to create this centre, which means a lot to us all. And thank you especially to Princess Alexandra, who has always been such a wonderful advocate for St Christopher’s.”
Before Her Royal Highness departed, she was presented with a posy of flowers by long-term St Christopher’s supporter and local resident Eileen Taylor and a cake baked by volunteer Mia Peilow which was later cut for guests to take home after a glass of celebratory prosecco.
Going forward, St Christopher’s CARE will offer both practical and academic support and guidance to people from all walks of life; from patients and their family and friends to carers and health and social workers from multi-disciplinary teams. Through a combination of courses, workshops, regular training initiatives and webinars, the centre will be a place to share and grow knowledge, support and skills and a peaceful, inspiring and accessible space for those who may simply wish to spend quality time alone or with loved ones in contemplation.
St Christopher’s continued their grand opening of CARE by hosting health and social care professionals on Friday 24 September and welcoming the general public on Saturday 25 September.
All photos by Rachel Manns.
About St Christopher’s Hospice www.stchristophers.org.uk
- We were founded by Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the global hospice movement with the opening of St Christopher’s in 1967.
- HRH Princess Alexandra has been a Patron of St Christopher’s since 1981. Please visit the St Christopher’s website here to find out more about the Royal Patronage.
- We are a charity. Just one third of our funding comes from the NHS and we have to fundraise £15 million every year to keep going.
- Our vision is of a world in which all dying people and those close to them have access to care and support, whenever and wherever they need it.
- Our goal is to help people live well until they die, and support those affected by the loss of a friend or relative. We know that each person is unique and we tailor our care to meet social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as manage physical symptoms.
- We strongly believe that everyone should have access to the best care at the end of their lives and through a blend of expert practice, education and research we work with people across the world to improve and develop hospice care.
- We usually have over 1,300 people under our care at any one time, and last year we provided care and support to over 5,000 patients and 2,000 families and carers across South London, both at home, out in the community and in the hospice.
- We have over 500 dedicated staff and over 1,000 amazing volunteers.
- You can support the hospice by donating, volunteering or shopping at one of our 26 local high street shops.
- You can find our website by searching “stchristophers.org.uk” online, and we are also on social media – search @StChrisHospice on Twitter and Instagram, and “St Christopher’s Hospice” on Facebook.