Blythe House Hospicecare is continuing to provide the highest levels of care and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illness, bereavement and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We are here to help and here to stay throughout the duration of the national lockdown and beyond. The hospice, based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, is providing services across the local community.

From July to September, the expert and compassionate team delivered over 3,100 hours of palliative and end of life care in the comfort of patient’s homes – with 98% of people dying in the place of their choice at home with their loved ones.

Usually face-to-face support groups for carers, people who are bereaved and those who are affected by prostate and breast cancers, have been taking place monthly via online platform, Zoom with an average of 12 attendees per session.

During quarter three, the counselling and bereavement team delivered over 120 support sessions for local adults and children, including 42 Covid-19-secure face-to-face meetings. Hospice staff also provided over 670 telephone or online support sessions.

Louise Furmston, community engagement lead at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘There has been huge concern and anxiety with patients who have experienced “multiple losses” as a result of both living with a life-limiting illness but also the limitations that the pandemic has enforced.

‘The impact of not being able to have human contact with family or friends, and not being able to access usual avenues of support, including visiting us at Blythe House, has been huge. Other worries include the uncertainty of when the situation might improve; the ever-changing guidelines; difficulties accessing healthcare services, or treatments being cancelled or delayed; as well as issues with managing symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue and breathlessness.

‘At Blythe House, whilst government rules have stopped us from undertaking our usual events and services, they would never stop us from providing the highest quality care, advice and support to local people who are affected by life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, COPD, heart failure and motor neurone disease.’

Alongside the staff team, the hospice’s dedicated volunteers have continued to go above and beyond to support local people affected by Covid-19.

Vicci Wild, community volunteer programme manager, said: ‘Our amazing volunteers continued to fulfil every request for support throughout July to September; 63 socially-distanced garden visits took place providing companionship to patients and support for carers. The team worked with people who were no longer required to isolate, by helping them regain their confidence to go out to run their own errands. As restrictions were tightened again, the team assured the community that the support from Blythe House will remain available.’

Janet Dunphy, hospice CEO, added: ‘As Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the hospice movement, once said “We cannot take away the whole hard thing that is happening, but we can help to bring the burden into manageable proportions.” That is exactly what we are striving to do here at Blythe House.

‘We are part of a community that is prepared to help; there is a strong culture of self-reliance in the High Peak, and the nurturing element of what Blythe House does is a direct reflection of the community that supports us. Together with district nurses, GPs and other local healthcare providers, we are able to wrap around those who need us. We know that to stay relevant, solvent and keep to our mission, we must stay together, work in partnership with others and embrace social change.  We are stronger together, clear of purpose and very proud to be part of the High Peak community.’

To access support during the ongoing lockdown, please:

Referrals for hospice care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire have surged by more than 160% since Blythe House joined forces with Helen’s Trust.

Blythe House Hospicecare, based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Helen’s Trust in Bakewell announced their formal partnership in September, but have been working together officially since April.

The charities provide 24/7 palliative and end of life care in the homes of patients with life-limiting illnesses including cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and neurological conditions like motor neurone disease.

Referrals are made to the team for a variety of reasons including respite sits so that a carer can get some much-needed rest or to run errands; to get a patient home from hospital; crisis avoidance, where a family is in need of support quickly to help with a potentially distressing or emotional situation; and for end of life care when a patient is in the final weeks or days of life.

Hospice at Home healthcare assistants have provided this care across the Dales and North East Derbyshire, including in Alfreton, Bakewell, Birchover, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Clowne, Dronfield, Eckington, Hathersage, Matlock and Shirebrook.

Dr Louise Jordan, founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, said: ‘What is so exciting about working with Blythe House, is the joint aim to provide our own highly skilled carers to give care in the comfort of patient’s homes. Helen’s Trust has always relied on contracting with agencies. This has largely been successful but gives no guarantee of the quality of care we aim for, and often can be unreliable and very expensive.

‘Lockdown fast tracked our collaboration very effectively and very efficiently. The demand for care has been massive since our collaboration and referrals have gone up by 167%. More healthcare assistants have been recruited and trained, and we are looking to expand this number further very quickly.

‘As a founding trustee, Helen’s Trust is very precious to me and I want to assure you that the board and I have every confidence that the merger of Helen’s Trust and Blythe House will enable us to help more people; to support individuals to stay and die in their own home and have a good death. This is so important for the individual but also for their family and friends.’

Ruth Brown, Hospice at Home senior manager has coordinated the implementation of care across the region. She added: ‘Our community is at the heart of everything we do here, and our healthcare assistants have gone above and beyond, providing the good honest care we strive to deliver, even though our “normal” has changed forever and some of these new patterns of working will remain.

‘I am delighted to be a part of the work of our two charities, both of which hold a special place in my heart. As Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”’

Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service launched in 2016 and since then, has delivered over 50,000 hours of day and night-time care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak. Referrals can be made by:

  • Calling 01298 813007 or 01298 811770 for Blythe House
  • Calling 07780 331715 for Helen’s Trust

Find out more about the Hospice at Home service and if it might be useful for your family

A message from Janet Dunphy, our CEO, as we continue to navigate our ‘new normal’:

‘It really feels like we are in this together, that our community know how much we need their support and how much they need our services, now and in the future.

‘Community support has never been so enthusiastically given. Without our shops we could not survive as an organisation; without our shop volunteers there would be no shops. Without the money we raise, we would have to cut services. These are the facts, and I wanted to say how much that supports matters and how much you matter. Whether you need us, or you are helping us with donations to the shops or to eBay, helping to run the shops for us, or fundraise with us. Services stop when money stops, this we know and it will get tougher too.

‘During our “Here to Help” campaign during lockdown this year, with our community volunteers we supported on average 170 people per week who were isolated, scared, needing advice or practical help. With a steady stream of donations, we can continue this during these hard times. ‘People did root in their attics and cupboards and send us those small special items that we could sell on eBay; that has been massive help when the shops were closed. And the volunteers came back to open our shops, and our customers came back, pleased to see us, pleased to help us and the clinical services have carried on throughout these times, supporting everyone who needs us and getting the care out there.

‘Blythe House and Helen’s Trust together has navigated this tough time to reshape and ensure we will be here in the future, providing modern services, that at some time, we or those we know and love will need.

‘I can hear and see you fighting for our success, the pride you take in being part of your local charity is felt. It is appreciated, and it matters. Every penny you raise matters. Your ambition for your local charities is evident in everything you do, and we are here because of what you do. I just wanted to thank you. It’s always important to talk about the services we provide, but without you and the support you give whether as a retail or fundraising volunteer, in donations of money or goods, there would be no services.’

Find out more about our care and services at this time.

As of Thursday 5th November, our hospice shops are CLOSED in-line with government guidance. Christmas cards are still available to buy, please download and complete an order form and send it to Caroline Morgan: caroline.morgan@blythehouse.co.uk.

Order form

You can also order over the phone by calling: 07494072082

See designs below clockwise from top left:

Merry Christmas Santa’s
150 x 150mm
Pack of 10 £4.00

Winter Farm
150 x 150mm
Pack of 10 £3.50

Blue Christmas Tree
150 x 150mm
Pack of 10 £4.00

Silent Night, Holy Night
126 x 172mm
Pack of 10 £4.00

Local Scene
Solomon’s Temple,
Buxton
105 x 148mm
Pack of 10 £4.00

We are also immensely grateful to local businesses who are stocking our Christmas cards across the High Peak and Hope Valley – PLEASE CALL IN ADVANCE AS SOME OF THE SHOPS BELOW MAY NOW BE CLOSED DUE TO THE LOCKDOWN:

  • Chippy’s Plaice – 59 Spring Gardens, Buxton, SK17 6BJ
  • Dolly ‘n’ Ted’s Tearoom – The Stones, Castleton, S33 8WX
  • Halls Mica Hardware – 116 Market Street, Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak SK23 0HZ
  • Hope Chest Deli – Unit 2, 8 Castleton Rd, Hope, Hope Valley, S33 6RD
  • Peveril Stores – How Lane, Castleton, Hope Valley, S33 8WJ
  • Tea on The Green – 6aa, 3 Green Lane, Chinley, High Peak, SK23 6AA
  • The Anchor Inn – Four Lanes End, Tideswell, SK17 8RB
  • The Olive Tree Farm Shop at The Wanted Inn – A623 route, Sparrowpit, SK17 8ET

In partnership with Helen’s Trust, our hospice programme that supports people who are affected by life-limiting illnesses in their own homes, is looking for volunteers across the Derbyshire Dales.

The community volunteer programme was set up by Blythe House Hospicecare in 2018, and is now extending its services to cover Dales towns including Bakewell, Matlock and surrounding villages and hamlets.

The development comes after Blythe House and Helen’s Trust joined forces earlier this year, to bring palliative and end of life care to more patients who wish to be supported in the comfort of their own home.

The community volunteer programme provides practical and emotional support in the homes of local patients, who have life-limiting illnesses including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s, heart failure and neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

During two successful years in the High Peak, the programme has supported over 200 local families, with requests including running errands, household tasks, transportation, and sitting with a patient while their carer takes a break.

Prospective community volunteers attend a comprehensive training programme to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence to provide the best service. The next training opportunity begins in Bakewell in November.

A local woman that the programme supported said: ‘A fantastic service at a very difficult time.  A huge thank you.  It allowed me to care for my husband in the way that we wanted.’

John Baker from Taddington became a community volunteer in February 2019. He said: ‘What could a retired sales manager possibly bring to a community volunteer programme? The answer, and what actually inspires me, is the opportunity to bring some “normality” into patient’s lives, and the lives of their family, by providing simple basic support, also the terrific “buzz” you get by the simple act of a helping hand.

‘To encourage other people like myself to become community volunteers, I would say: remember you’re helping people whilst they are enduring difficult times, which for me is a very fulfilling experience. Just give it a try; you may even surprise yourself.’

If you’re interested in finding out more about this innovative volunteer opportunity and the training provided, please call Vicci Wild or Julie Forrest on: 01298 384116 or email: Vicci.Wild@blythehouse.co.uk

Make a will with Buxton solicitors and support local hospice care

 A Buxton solicitor’s branch is set to write wills for free, in return for fees being donated to support local people affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement.

Throughout October, Cooper Sons Hartley & Williams Solicitors will be delivering a will writing service, with all the money raised coming to Blythe House.

Ali and Scott Beswick decided to make their will with the solicitor’s firm during Blythe House’s Wills Month last year. The Buxton couple have supported the hospice after Ali’s mum, Julie received care at Blythe House following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2018.

Ali said: ‘Mum is doing very well now and has been back at work for just over a year.  Her treatment is now down to once every six months and if it were not for the current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she would be doing pretty much everything that she was able to do before her diagnosis and treatment began.’

Scott added: ‘Blythe House is a local charity that relies heavily on donations and fundraising to continue providing vital services to patients like my mother-in-law and families like ours. The charity is particularly close to us due to the support that they have provided to Julie. When Wills Month came around, there was no hesitation; we needed to make a will and we wanted to continue our support to Blythe House and give something back ourselves.’

Ali continued: ‘If you’re going to make a will, why not do it when the solicitor is willing to donate the fees to such a worthy cause such as Blythe House Hospicecare? You never know; you or a family member may need to call upon Blythe House at some point; wouldn’t it be a good feeling to know that you have helped support the hospice to support you or someone you love?’

The suggested minimum donation to Blythe House Hospicecare during October for wills are: single will £150; mirror will (for a couple) £250; codicil (update to your existing will) £60.

To book an appointment to make your will, call Cooper Sons Hartley & Williams on 01298 77511 quoting Blythe House Hospicecare. 

Read Ali and Scott’s story.

Huge thanks to Discount Displays Ltd who have designed and donated a giant whiteboard cheque to Blythe House so that we’re able to say thank you to our supporters at a safe distance and follow government guidelines.

Aaron Inglethorpe, from the team, said: ‘Discount Displays are proud to be able to support Blythe House and the exceptional work they do with people who have life-limiting illnesses. We hope the promotional cheque will be beneficial to their future fundraising efforts and provide an eye-catching focal point for PR photo opportunities.’

We are so grateful for this generosity! Find out more.

A fundraising golf day in Buxton was the best by par – raising more than £5,200 for local hospice care and services.

Over 80 golfers took part in Blythe House Hospicecare’s first event following the COVID-19 lockdown, at Buxton and High Peak Golf Club.

Players came from across the High Peak and beyond for the friendly competition on Friday 4th September, including teams of work colleagues, and members of other golf clubs – helping to raise over £500 more than last year’s event total.

There were prizes for first to fifth place teams, with winners picking up items kindly donated by local companies, including golf bags and game accessories, bottles of whiskey, and vouchers for restaurants, shops and golf courses.

Local businesses also sponsored each of the 18 tees across the course, and hospice supporters donated alcohol for the popular bottle tombola, which raised over £700 on its own.

Becca Gregory, fundraising and events coordinator at Blythe House Hospicecare, said: ‘I would like to thank everyone who got involved in our golf day to make it such a huge success. With it being the hospice’s first event post-lockdown, it was wonderful to see everyone coming together safely to support the cause. There was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the day and the great weather definitely helped!

‘Special thanks go to the team at Buxton and High Peak Golf Club for all of their help in planning the day, including volunteering so much time to help out. I am also incredibly grateful to dedicated hospice volunteers who supported us on the day, and generous residents and businesses who donated money or gifts in kind towards the event.

‘All the money raised will go towards supporting people across our community who are affected by life-limiting illnesses and bereavement, including children and young people.’

Find out more about how you could support Blythe House Hospicecare.

Following Blythe House’s official partnership with fellow local end of life care charity, Helen’s Trust, Janet Dunphy, CEO, has written a blog about the news…

I was absolutely delighted when Dr Louise Jordan, Chair of Helen’s Trust board of trustees, approached me to discuss the possibility of this partnership, this is why:

As organisations, Blythe House and Helen’s Trust share the same values, we are here to support those with life-limiting illness. The growth of our Hospice at Home service proves how much people want to stay with their loved ones at home at the end of their life. We literally do the same thing for the same people in the same place. Together we do it better. It is because of this that all the trustees and staff involved are so excited and proud to be together as a community. We are a perfect match, like Blythe House, Helen’s Trust is well-loved charity; a small charity with clear ambitions to support as many people as possible when they need us most.

Our services at Blythe House are unaffected by this partnership, but I’m sure you’re pleased to see the developments that enable us to reach even more people who need us. Just as always, Blythe House works to meet the needs of our community. Blythe House is doing the same work, but more efficiently, we have to be here for the future.

The partnership also enhances our workforce, as the Helen’s Trust fundraising team join us. They have ensured Helen’s Trust has kept going and made it as well respected and successful as it is today; their work will continue as our fundraising work for Blythe House continues. I assure you that both teams are raring to go! We will continue to use the familiar and respected brands and profiles, which have defined our two great charities over the years.

We also have an opportunity to expand the work of our community volunteer services. They have made 1,600 contacts in our community, and their achievements shone brightly throughout the COVID-19 lockdown (and still do). The Helen’s Trust community will be able to join that team and support their neighbourhoods with trained volunteers from Helen’s Trust.

In essence: we are doing more – for more people – together. Raising funds has never been more important than it is today, if you are willing to help in any way please contact: fundraising@blythehouse.co.uk.

If you are interested in joining our volunteering team, please contact: volunteering@blythehouse.co.uk.

I wish you all well in these strange times and hope you feel every confidence in your local developing hospice. Thank you sincerely for helping us to be there.

Warm wishes

Janet

Blythe House is joining forces with Bakewell-based Helen’s Trust to extend Hospice at Home services to more patients across the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.

Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust have been discussing their organisational compatibility for over 12 months, and this formal partnership – officially launched today, 7th of September 2020 – is the natural progression of the special relationship.

The charities have been working closely together since April throughout lockdown, delivering over 1,800 hours of care to patients across the Dales and North East Derbyshire , in addition to those in the High Peak, who have life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and motor neurone disease.

After receiving 120 patient referrals from April to August 2020, 75 patients died in the comfort of their own home with their loved ones by their side – achieving a 100% outcome for the patient’s preferred place of death.

The need for this fundamental care in patient’s homes has never been clearer. A survey found that 82% of people wanted to die at home, but 50% of us die in hospital. Other research found that hospices could help reduce hospital deaths by 50,000 every year, generating £80m of savings for the NHS* (*Hospice UK).

Tim Mourne, chairman of the Blythe House Hospicecare board of trustees, said: ‘Over the last year, it has become more and more apparent that Blythe House and Helen’s Trust would be stronger together; ensuring better value from joint resources, and most importantly, reaching more local people who need us.

‘I am delighted to announce that Janet Dunphy, chief executive at Blythe House Hospicecare, has officially taken on the management of both charities, following the retirement of the former Helen’s Trust CEO earlier this year, and she will continue to lead the merged organisation.

‘The board of trustees at both charities have been merged, to support the exciting new partnership and its future development, bringing together local industry professionals with a wealth of knowledge and skills.’

Dr Louise Jordan, founding trustee of Helen’s Trust, added: ‘Blythe House and Helen’s Trust are both strong and aspiring local charities whose shared vision is to support more and more people, to have the choice to stay and die in their own home. Working together accomplishes this and provides a very high standard of care.

‘As a board, we are so incredibly glad that over the last year we have forged such strong links with Blythe House who share the same purpose and values. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us like a tornado but a clear sentiment between the two charities is that together, we are stronger.’

Janet Dunphy, CEO at Blythe House Hospicecare, has over 35 years’ experience as an end of life care specialist. She commented: ‘I am delighted to have the opportunity to oversee this incredibly exciting partnership, to ensure that everyone in our local community can receive the best Hospice at Home care.’

Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service launched in 2016 and since then, has delivered over 48,000 hours of day and night-time care in the comfort of patient’s homes across the High Peak.

Referral processes for both charity’s services will remain the same and can be made by:

  • Calling 01298 813007 or 01298 811770 for Blythe House
  • Calling 07780 331715 for Helen’s Trust

Cover image – Tim Mourne, Janet Dunphy and Dr Louise Jordan 

Read a blog post from Janet Dunphy, CEO, about the news.