Rennie Grove launches charity appeal to improve St Albans hospice
- Credit: Archant
St Albans’ much-loved Grove House hospice is hoping to raise £1 million to redevelop its building into a community hub for people with life-limiting illnesses.
Grove House in Waverley Road, which is run by Rennie Grove Hospice Care, has offered day hospice services to the local community since the building opened in 1993.
Since then, the needs of the community have changed, with people living longer with life-limiting conditions. By 2025, there will be a predicted 4,100 people aged 65 and over with a life-limiting illness in Herts.
The hospice currently cares for around 900, which does not include younger people who are diagnosed and need support. Day services are provided on weekdays from 9am to 4pm, for adults only. There are no facilities at the hospice building for children or their families, who Rennie Grove care for at their homes.
Rennie Grove has launched the 'Grove House Appeal' to reconfigure and extend the building's interior, trebling the space available so more services can be delivered at a time, as well as expanding the range of services offered to patients, families and carers.
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This will enable the hospice to introduce services for children and young adults, and expand its community reach by making services available at evenings and weekends. They also aim to become a centre of excellence for palliative care, and to create an education suite to deliver training to Rennie Grove staff and other healthcare professionals.
Lynne Morrice, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in May 2018, said: "I am passionate about helping Rennie Grove to shout loudly about all the services on offer at Grove House.
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"Some cancers such as mine at not typical, and I struggled to find practical and emotional support. The highly-trained team at Grove House has provided me with both and I'm so grateful for their care, professionalism and the range of services that have helped me live my life as fully as I possibly can.
"Before I started visiting Grove House for myself I thought it was a traditional hospice building with inpatient beds for people who were at the end of their lives. But when you find out everything that is on offer here - for patients as well as their families - you realise that it's very different.
"Grove House is a place that helps you start living again, and not a place you come to die."
The plans for the hospice building include replacing the conservatories at the rear end to create two new areas to deliver services, carrying out maintenance on heating, flooring, sanitation and lighting, and creating a larger teaching area, a new reception area and a space for children and young people.
Wellbeing services and therapies will be expanded to care for patients with a wide variety of conditions at all stages of their illness, as well as providing pre and post-bereavement support.
Opening hours will also be extended to increase accessibility to clinical, complementary and bereavement services.
The appeal has also been supported by the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rvd Dr Alan Smith: "The Grove House appeal is for money needed in addition to the 'usual' fundraising Rennie Grove has to do to deliver its services, and this is a big ask to many of the charity's already very loyal supporters.
"Please do support the appeal if you can, either with an additional donation this year, or by introducing someone new to Rennie Grove who may wish to help."
Rennie Grove chief executive Stewart Marks said: "Grove House in St Albans is an integral part of the services we provide in west Hertfordshire.
"We are struggling to deliver the services needed in the spaces that are available in the building. In order to care for more people earlier in their illness we need to offer a wider range of services for adults, children and their families.
"To do this we need to reconfigure the building so that it is fit for purpose for today and in the years ahead."
Members of the public are invite to attend drop-in sessions next week to view the plans for Grove House and speak to staff. The sessions will be held at the hospice from 6.30pm to 8pm on Monday, July 29, and from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Tuesday, July 30.
To donate to the appeal go to renniegrove.org/GHappeal, or send a cheque to Rennie Grove, Grove House, Waverley Road, St Albans, AL3 5QX, made payable to Rennie Grove and marked on the envelope as 'Grove House Appeal'.
You can also call 01727 731000 to make a card donation.