The brainchild of founder members Ish Fawcett and Edith Russell, Tynedale Community Hospice was first incorporated in 1993 and registered as a charity early the following year.
Ish and Edith’s vision was to be able to provide professional, holistic, high quality palliative care for those living in Tynedale and West Northumberland which enabled those who wished to be able to end their lives in the comfort and security of their own homes to do just that, rather than in a strange hospital environment away from their own communities.
Originally named Tynedale Community Hospice – the name of the charity was changed in 2009 to reflect better the fact that we do not have in-patient beds and instead bring our services into peoples’ own homes, making their beds our beds when they need our care. Over the last few years, there has been a growing trend nationwide to provide Hospice at Home care services, so you could say that we were ahead of the game having based our services on that premise since the beginning! Tynedale Hospice at Home is registered with both the Charity and Care Quality Commission, the latter acting as an inspectorate for our care services.
Since its inception, Tynedale Hospice at Home has grown significantly and now provides home nursing care, a volunteer hospital driver service, and adult and children’s bereavement services. The latter, which was awarded a BIG Lottery grant in 2012, is now called the Rainbow Project. Bereavement Services are open to anyone living in the area, regardless of whether or not their families have previously been cared for by the Hospice.
Responsibility for the strategic development of the Hospice lies with a Board of Trustees which meets regularly and works together with staff to provide a strategic vision and policy framework for the ongoing work of the Hospice. Also on the Board is the Hospice Director, Alison Hands appointed in May 2015. In turn, she is responsible for a small team of staff supported by volunteers.
We currently have about 250 volunteers who undertake many different functions and without whom we simply would not be able to provide our services. Where possible we are integrating volunteers more and more into our teams so that we can spread the load as well as accommodate each volunteer’s individual circumstances. There are few talents and skills that we can not use thereby enabling anyone and everyone to become a volunteer for us!
In our offices in Wentworth Place we have brought the administrative, care and bereavement teams under one roof. In addition, by moving the bookshop into the old admin office we have provided a much improved environment for customers and more space to display our excellent selection of books. The former bookshop has provided much needed additional space for the Battle Hill shop. This move has enabled us to continue to grow and generate the funds that we need to support our services for the people of Tynedale.
In our first 21 years we believe that we have matured into an established and professional service. However we recognise that there is always more to be done. We value both positive and negative feedback , because it is only by keeping up to date with the requirements of our users that we can ensure that we continue to maintain the aims, values and vision of our founders.