Helping people live rest of their lives with dignity

50% Twitter.JPGBy policy and learning adviser David Rowlands

Last week I had the privilege to visit Skanda Vale Hospice, a Carmarthenshire group funded through our People and Places programme in Wales.

It’s easy to forget the impact our funding can make when you are in the office most of the time but this project really highlighted how our funding can makes a huge difference.

The visit was arranged to hold the People and Places committee meeting, when decisions were made on which projects to fund. We also wanted to showcase one of our projects to our committee members. Driving to the hospice in the morning I honestly did not know what to expect. Nobody likes talking about death and I have been lucky enough to have never visited a hospice before. Questions whirred through my head; what would the building look like and what would I say if a resident talked to me?

As I pulled into the car park, I was taken aback by what I found. Beautiful buildings set in gardens and views of rolling countryside made this look more like a Spa retreat than somewhere people came to die.

As we went into the building and met residents and staff, it was clear that our funding had made an incredible impact on people’s lives. Instead of being somewhere to fear, Skanda Vale Hospice had made every effort to make the place as welcoming and light as possible. Every detail had been thought of from light furnishings, unique features, massage rooms for residents and their families as well as a balcony that can be accessed from resident’s rooms. This ensured that the Hospice was as comfortable as possible and was somewhere individuals and their families could go to get the care needed to continue their life with the dignity they deserve.

What made the hospice even more fascinating is that it operated at a fraction of the cost of other hospices. Its volunteer led model of delivery meant that services were provided for residents through a mixture of clinical staff, clinical volunteers and non-clinical volunteers.

As I left, I came away in awe of the kindness of what people can achieve, a better understanding of what a hospice is and what our funding can achieve.

Read about Twenty-four-year-old Simon Wakelin’s specially converted off road wheelchair which he uses to mow the Skanda Vale lawns by clicking here

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