The coronavirus pandemic is understandably leaving many of us feeling worried and anxious about the future. We have put together this web page to collate helpful advice and information about looking after yourself and your mental well-being during this uncertain time. It will be updated regularly with new content, and we hope that you find it helpful.

Linda Brady, one of our counsellors, has recorded some simple meditation practices which you can enjoy in your own time.

  • The first is a three minute breathing exercise
  • The second is a meditation for feeling as safe as you reasonably can
  • The third is a grounding exercise that you may find useful

Linda has taken the time to share some ideas to help you stay connected throughout this time. She explained: ‘We know many of you will be missing the physical connection between you and your family and friends – that face-to-face contact that we often take for granted.’ Read Linda’s advice now.

Linda has also highlighted support available from Action for Happiness. She said: ‘They produce monthly “coping calendars” which suggest actions that we can take to look after ourselves and each other. You can sign up to get each month’s calendar sent to you. There’s also an app for mobile phones that might be helpful.’ Visit the website to find out more.

Ann Burgoyne, who usually runs a weekly mindfulness meditation class at Blythe House, got in touch to offer a breathing practice called the ‘3 minute breathing space.’ She explained: ‘It uses a short acronym AGE to help remember how it goes. We use this sometimes to start our Wednesday evening meditation group at Blythe House.’

Pause whatever you are doing, eyes can be open or closed…

  • 1st Minute – A – Become Aware of the activity of the mind (thoughts, thinking, etc.), feelings and sensations in the body
  • 2nd Minute – G – Gather the awareness in to rest on your breathing and each breath as it happens
  • 3rd Minute – E – Expand your awareness out to notice the whole body and the space around your body.

‘Notice how you are at the end of the practice and if you feel you need to calm a little more simply rest your awareness on the next three breaths, breathing right to the end of each of the outbreaths. At the end of the third outbreath, let go and allow the breathing to gently settle back into it’s natural rhythm and move into the rest of your day. Do this as openly as you need or wish through the day.’

  • The Wellness Society have published a free Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook to help manage stress and anxiety during this period of global uncertainty. Download it for free now.
  • There are lots of free meditations readily available on YouTube to help support anxiety, worry or stress. Search here.
  • The Mindfulness Association is currently offering a free daily online meditation, 7pm-7.30pm, followed by a chat until 8pm. It’s a great way of getting a sense of connection to others.
  • Two well-known apps Headspace and Calm are both offering free content at the moment including meditations, soothing music, sleep exercise and stories.
  • Look out for online exercise classes that are being offered by personal trainers and gyms – including yoga, Pilates or more intensive workouts.
  • Enjoy a walk in the fresh air, whilst practicing social distancing.
  • Turning a mountain into hills – a useful article by Charlotte Walker who considers what she can and cannot control throughout the pandemic, and explains: ‘I hope it inspires you to think about your own mountain and how you could come up with your own version of more manageable hills.’
  • Tolerating uncertainty – by Carol Vivyan’s may be useful. She explains: ‘When we are anxious, we tend to over-estimate the danger, and the odds, of bad things happening, and we under-estimate our ability to cope if or when those bad things happen. Even if the odds are really small that a bad thing will happen, that tiny chance is enough to really upset us. We call it “intolerance of uncertainty”.’
  • Coronavirus: How to look after your self-care in these uncertain times – a very useful article from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
  • Mind have information on their website if you are worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. Find out more.
  • Helpful content including videos about emotional health and well-being during this time, from Derbyshire County Council.
  • Catherine Serjeant, art therapy coordinator, said: ‘The arts are a wonderful solace in times of trouble. So many times, I have heard people say how you forget all your troubles while being absorbed with crafts and arts. Now every morning I’m absorbed with an pictorial diary. I’m painting, drawing, collaging, writing.  You don’t have to be brilliant at it, just have a go and learn to laugh at yourself. How about keeping a diary of all the cooking and eating you’re doing including drawing or painting, crayoning, printing. If you find your taste buds have gone or you’re not feeling like eating, write or draw your frustrations… ‘the Frustration Monster!’ The ‘What If Monster’ is another idea to portray. It could perhaps be a 3D structure! Use stuff out of your garage or shed. Keep a scrapbook. Weave a wall hanging. Print with potatoes or just let your pencil have a wonderful doodle!’
  • Future Learn has courses available to help you manage your own mental health and support others who are struggling during this time. Find out more.

Other helpful articles:

Blythe House Hospicecare is increasing the level of community care to support the most vulnerable people as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The hospice is providing 24/7 end of life care in the comfort of patient’s homes. In addition, a team of hospice staff and volunteers is posting ‘kindness cards’ to let people know about support including shopping, prescription pick-ups, telephone chats and food parcels.

Nurses, counsellors and healthcare assistants are also on-hand to provide telephone support to all patients and their families.

Janet Dunphy, CEO, said: ‘Our community have supported us to develop to meet the increasing needs of people in the High Peak, and this is payback time, we will be there for them even more now. We are stronger together.

‘The well-being of the people we support, hospice visitors, staff and volunteers is our first priority and that’s why we are following advice and guidance issued by Public Health England and the UK Government.

‘At the present time, we are taking each day as it comes with regards to the ongoing situation. We have taken on-board Government advice and have made decisions to implement some changes to services whilst continuing to support the most isolated and vulnerable people in our local area.’

All non-essential meetings and sessions at the hospice or in the local community have been cancelled for the time being including coffee mornings; out-patient clinics; weekly support groups and walking for health sessions.

The hospice’s four chairty shops in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Buxton, New Mills and Whaley Bridge are all closed.

Janet added: ‘We are liaising closely with our event sponsors and co-organisers to determine what will happen to future fundraising events. National events that our supporters are involved in, like the London Marathon, have already been postponed. We will keep members of the public updated as soon as we have details of the plans going forward.’

If you or someone you know is feeling lonely or isolated due to the current situation, or you’d like to find out more about support from Blythe House, please contact Vicci Wild or Julie Forrest on 01298 816990.

Find out more via our dedicated coronavirus webpage.

Heading out to do some shopping or run errands over the coming weeks, you might notice some new faces that crop up regularly in shops and businesses across the High Peak and Hope Valley.

Blythe House Hospicecare is delighted to launch its new fundraising collection pots, displaying the beaming faces of dedicated hospice supporters.

More than 170 collection pots are dispersed across the community in places like banks, shops, cafés, pubs and companies, with members of the public donating spare change to help support their local hospice.

The generosity of local people, and the businesses that are proud to display Blythe House collection pots, helped the hospice to raise over £10,800 throughout 2018/19.

All these donations enable the Chapel-en-le-Frith hospice to continue to provide free care and services to local patients with illnesses including cancer, motor neurone disease, heart failure, COPD and Parkinson’s, as well as their carers and families.

Sally and Ben

Ben Hinchliffe fought cancer for much of his life including having leukaemia as a child before being diagnosed with bowel cancer. The former Frome resident moved to Chapel-en-le-Frith with his family in April 2017 and soon after started to access the services at Blythe House.

The passionate fundraiser had previously been actively involved in raising money for the cancer care centre at Royal United Hospitals in Bath, were he underwent treatment; he would volunteer alongside his mum, Sally to collect fundraising pots from local shops and businesses.

Ben was keen to be busy and always wanted to support Blythe House. He secured a job with the High Peak Food Bank through Zink Employability as a direct result of coming to the hospice.

‘He always felt at home at Blythe House; he gained an awful lot from coming here. When another shock hit him, he’d say “I’m going to Blythe!”’ explained Sally.

‘Ben had secured an apprenticeship role at a quarry in Bradwell through Zink, but sadly a week after accepting it, he had to tell them that he was no longer able to undertake the role as he was re-diagnosed with bowel cancer.’

Ben’s dad, Peter added: ‘He never said he would not get better – he always said: “I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again!”’

Sally said: ‘Ben tragically passed away in November 2018, aged just 36 years old. Blythe House continues to provide ongoing support to me and the rest of the family who’re still coming to terms with our loss.

‘Ben would’ve absolutely loved being the “face” of the Blythe House collection pots – he would’ve been honoured to have been asked. It is very ironic that we used to volunteer our time to collect fundraising pots when he was younger, and now his legacy lives on as he’ll actually be printed on the pots here in the High Peak!’

Collette and Kenzie

A good friend of Ben’s during his time in the Living Well service was fellow Chapel-en-le-Frith resident, Collette Russell. The 30-year-old who moved to the town from Fairfield, Buxton, started to attend Blythe House in April 2018, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Collette, who has a 10-year-old son called Kenzie, said: ‘I visited the doctor several times from December 2014 to March the following year with different symptoms including a nasty cough and just generally feeling unwell. In July, I discovered a lump under my armpit so went to the GP again, where I was told it was a cyst that would just go away.

‘In October, in my role as a carer at a local nursing home, I was kicked in the stomach by a resident. It wasn’t a malicious kick, but I was in pain and was referred to Stepping Hill Hospital as I had a very high heart rate and temperature. Over the coming days, I underwent X-Rays and CT scans, before hospital doctors confirmed that I had a mediastinal mass in my chest [growths that form in the area that separates the lungs].

‘I underwent further tests including bone marrow and lymph node biopsies, as well as having four blood transfusions. On the 27th November 2015, I was told that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was transferred to The Christie Hospital where I underwent scans and started chemotherapy. In May 2016, I finished chemo and underwent a PET [Positron emission tomography] scan where no cancerous activity was found! I had some radiotherapy, and on 27th July 2016, exactly eight months since I was diagnosed with cancer; I rang the bell at The Christie for finishing all my treatment!

‘I went straight back to work being a full-time carer; I never really had time to think about what I’d been through, and just started back into “normal” life. But on the second anniversary of my diagnosis in October 2017, I felt so upset and desperately low. I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with severe depression; they also referred me to Blythe House.

‘At first I didn’t want to come here; I thought it was a hospice building full of old people who were dying. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. Here I have sought advice and support, and made friends for life; they are like my second family. It doesn’t matter what age people are – they range from their 30s to their 90s – we are all the very best of friends! Everyone has helped me through this really difficult time in my life; we can be ourselves here, we laugh and we can cry too. I took part in the Writing for Life group to put the words in my head down on paper about my illness, and the group still regularly meets up outside of the hospice to catch up and offer each other support.

‘I have also enjoyed complementary therapies to help me feel better in myself. I now suffer with vitiligo as a result of receiving chemotherapy; I am receiving counselling at Blythe House to come to terms with this; every time I look in the mirror at myself, there’s a constant reminder that I had cancer.

‘I was inspired by the beauty therapists at Blythe House to become one myself, to be able to offer treatments and therapies to people in similar situations. I started a course at the University of Derby in Buxton in September 2019, and hope to be able to come to Blythe House when I’m qualified to be able to treat the patients.

The Tollertons’

‘The nurses nominated me to be the “face of” the collection pots; I was so pleased! It’s bittersweet because Ben and I got on so, so well. I was so low when he died. He really understood what I went through – but he was never phased by illness – he’d always say “I’m going to fight it!” I’m really proud to be on the collection pots alongside Ben. It’s my way of being able to give just a little something back to Blythe House for all it has done for me.’

Rebecca and Mark Tollerton, and their children, Amelia and George, from Dove Holes also feature on the new collection pots. Read their Blythe House story.

Keith and Margaret

Keith Bolton accessed hospice services for his wife, Margaret after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Keith and Margaret, from Glossop, also have a photo displayed on the new pots. Read their story.

If you would like to house a Blythe House collection box in your shop or local business, please call: 01298 815 388 or email: fundraising@blythehouse.co.uk

(Updated 17.08.2020) 

At Blythe House, the well-being of the people we support, hospice visitors, staff and volunteers is our first priority and that’s why we are following advice and guidance issued by Public Health England and the UK Government.

Services during ongoing COVID-19 situation:

  • Telephone support and advice relating to life-limiting illness for both patients and carers. Guidance including planning for end of life care, changes to treatment plans, combating isolation and loneliness, mental health and well-being. Signposting to external, partner organisations that can provide further support including social care, legal and financial help. Contact: Louise Furmston, Community Engagement Lead on 01298 875080 or email: Furmston.louise [@] blythehouse.co.uk
  • Companionship and support for elderly, isolated or vulnerable members of our local community, in full compliance with Government regulations. This includes, but is not limited to shopping, medication collection, transport to/from medical appointments, walking pets and telephone companionship. Contact: Vicci Wild and Julie Forrest, Community Volunteer programme on 01298 816990 or email: volunteering [@] blythehouse.co.uk
  • Counselling and bereavement support for both adults and children. Contact: bhh.counselling [@] nhs.net 
  • 24/7 Hospice at Home palliative and end of life care in the comfort of patient’s homes. Contact: Ruth Brown and Jude Webster, Hospice at Home team on 07512 852087 or email: Blythehouse [@] nhs.net.  

A huge THANK YOU to all of our amazing volunteers and supporters who continue to show such resilience in the face of uncertain times.

  • Our hospice charity shops in Buxton, Whaley Bridge, Chapel-en-le-Frith and New Mills are now open. For full details, please refer to our dedicated shops page.
  • We have liaised closely with our event sponsors and postponed our upcoming fundraising events. Add the new dates to your diary now!

Useful documents and information:

Take care and stay safe.

Blythe House Bulletin is now available to read online, featuring news and info about the hospice’s care and services, and our upcoming events.

 

The reception, porch and a bathroom area at Blythe House Hospicecare are set to undergo a major transformation to ensure the building is accessible to all visitors.

The hospice is delighted to be working alongside CRASH, a national charity that is supporting the project by drawing on the professional skills, materials and financial generosity of the construction industry.

CRASH has also very kindly donated £30,000 towards the revamp, with the remaining costs coming from trusts and grants applied for by the hospice’s fundraising team.

Ongoing, fundamental support is also coming from local industry professionals including quantity surveyor, Gavin Garner of WCP Associates; Claire Wilde and Jemma Slater from SlaterWilde Architects and Designers; and Terry Ward, formerly of WMA Developments.

Janet Dunphy, CEO, said: ‘Blythe House celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019 and the hospice has come a very long way in those three decades. As our services have grown and developed, what was once an adequate, welcoming space is now unfortunately not fit-for-purpose to meet the growing needs of our local community.

‘As a small hospice we need to ensure that all of our space is being used to its full potential and we have recognised that at present, there are a number of changes needed to ensure we are running effectively, meeting the demand of services and supporting our patients.

‘As you can imagine, at busy times and periods, the reception area can be very crowded and does not offer easy access to our Living Well service, or any kind of privacy for patients and visitors. The revamp will ensure it is made fully accessible to all patients, and will allow for privacy when visitors are waiting for appointments or meetings.

‘We are incredibly proud to be working alongside exceedingly talented, knowledgeable and dedicated representatives from CRASH and our local community – and we can’t wait to see the amazing revamped area later this year!’

Construction is set to get underway in mid-February 2020, continuing until around March. The hospice is working hard to ensure that disruption to services is kept to a minimum.

As mentioned previously, popular monthly coffee mornings will not take place throughout the refurb process due to access issues. Our next coffee morning is set to take place from 10am to 1pm on Friday 17th January at Alderbrook Day Centre, Buxton Road, Chinley, SK23 6ES.

Further updates about the refurbishment will be available in the coming weeks, so please stay up to date via our website and social media channels.

If you are thinking of giving your time to a good cause this year, then look no further than supporting your local hospice.

Blythe House Hospicecare is on the lookout for volunteers from all walks of life, to help provide care and services to local patients who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, COPD, heart failure, and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease, as well as their family members and carers.

Anyone over the age of 16 can volunteer at Blythe House, supporting the hospice in three key areas: patient services, retail and fundraising. Roles include befriending, catering assistant, fundraising and events support, gardener, reception cover, retail assistant, counsellor and driver.

Alistair Rogerson, Volunteer and Support Services Manager, said: ‘Without our dedicated team of over 270 volunteers, Blythe House simply could not open its doors every day. We are incredibly grateful to the friendly and committed bunch, who collectively give almost 600 hours of their time to the hospice every single week. Support from our volunteers means that we can spend the maximum amount of money directly on care and services for local patients and their families.’

(L-R): Emily (with her Nan who came to Blythe House), Tom, Jasmyn, John and Betty

  • Emily Efstathiou from Fairfield undertook volunteer work experience at the hospice during her Business Studies course at Buxton College: ‘The thing I have enjoyed the most has been meeting so many new people including the staff, volunteers and the patients, and hearing about everyone’s lives and reasons for supporting the charity; it has been truly inspirational.’
  • University of Manchester student, Tom Craig from Hayfield, volunteered during his summer holidays: ‘Just being somebody who a patient can talk to about some of the difficulties that they are facing; or simply a chat about a random topic; or helping to clean the teacups at the end of the day; it is worth volunteering here simply because you can really feel like you are making a difference.’
  • Jasmyn Walton, also from Hayfield, works full-time through the week but gives her time to support the hospice’s weekend fundraising events: ‘When I volunteered I went along with a few of my friends, which was great for the organisers as they had more helpers, but this also meant I spent time with my friends whilst contributing to the community. You will feel great after helping others – I am already looking forward to volunteering at the next event with the hospice!’
  • Taddington resident, John Baker is one of the hospice’s community volunteers, which sees him head out across the local area to provide support in the homes of patients, their families and carers: ‘I have supported a patient by ensuring her husband had some respite, taking him shopping and for a coffee and a cheeky cake for just two hours each week. Simply listening and offering a different environment for a couple of hours can and does make a massive difference within a difficult situation.’
  • Betty Moll, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, has volunteered at Blythe House charity shops since 2009, after she relocated to the High Peak from Peterborough with her husband Tony (who is also a hospice volunteer): ‘If you have just moved into the local area and you’re looking to meet new people and make friends, volunteering for Blythe House is a great way to do so. It is a worthy role and I know that I’m giving something back to support a local hospice.’

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Blythe House, you can:

Blythe House’s reception area is set to undergo a refurbishment very soon and so our monthly coffee mornings will not take place at the hospice as usual, due to access issues.

Our next coffee morning is set to take place from 10am to 1pm on Friday 17th January at Alderbrook Day Centre, Buxton Road, Chinley, SK23 6ES.

Please spread the word and find out more.

More than 400 people have pledged to raise over £11,000 for local hospice patients after the ‘amazing’ Jingle Bell Jog in Buxton.

Blythe House Hospicecare’s second annual event saw over 370 adults and 70 children don fancy dress and headwear to jingle around the Pavilion Gardens on Sunday 1st December – a fantastic sight for dozens of well-wishing onlookers.

Money from online donations has already come in totalling more than £4,180, but with the addition of cash sponsorship and registration fees, the event is set to raise over £11,000 for hospice care. Participants have until the 10th January to collect all their sponsorship money, before the grand total is revealed.

Sophie Hopkin from Whaley Bridge took part alongside two friends in memory of her mum, Allison. She said: ‘My mum wanted to go to Blythe House but sadly she didn’t get chance as she died within three weeks of her lung cancer diagnosis. The hospice has supported me with counselling since she died in April, so I just wanted to give something back.’

Julie Reilly from Chesterfield added: ‘We are doing this for a colleague that we used to work with who accesses services at Blythe House, so we’ve come to support her. I’ve seen from Facebook posts what a big support the hospice is to her and I’ve seen how it’s helped other people too.’

David Fearn from Burbage took part in last year’s event with his wife, Lynn and they turned out again for the second annual jog. He explained: ‘My wife goes to Blythe House every Wednesday; she has suffered from cancer in the past and has got other illnesses. The staff and everyone there are fantastic, so this is just our little way of saying thank you and helping the cause. The weather’s nice and there’s lots of people who have turned out, so let’s hope we have a good day and raise plenty of money!’

Liam Browne got involved alongside work colleagues. The Buxton resident said: ‘We’ve got a bit of a running group going where we work, there’s about six of us, and we just thought we’d get involved with this to support a good cause and get in the Christmas spirit.’

Blythe House provides care and support to local patients who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, COPD, heart failure and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease. The Hospice at Home service has provided over 37,000 hours of care to local people at the end of their lives since it began in 2016.

Jennifer Godwin, Fundraising and Events Coordinator at Blythe House, said: ‘I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in the Jingle Bell Jog in any capacity, for ensuring it was such a huge success.

‘From volunteers who supported the event by setting up, marshalling, clearing away and everything in-between; local companies that provided sponsorship or gifts in kind; and of course, everyone who took part! It really was an amazing day and I hope everyone is bursting with pride for playing their part in helping to raise such an amazing amount of money for hospice care in the High Peak.’

Plans are already in place for next year’s Jingle Bell Jog, which is set to take place on Sunday 6th December 2020. Sign up to take part before midday on Sunday 8th December 2019 for a super early bird offer of just £5: www.jinglebelljog.org.uk.

To see the online gallery of photos, kindly taken by volunteer photographer, Iain Klieve, find Blythe House Hospicecare on Facebook.