Construction is underway for a new £6.5 million education centre in Sydenham, London, which will transform the care of the dying and bereaved. The new building is located at St Christopher’s Hospice and the news was welcomed by a ceremony that coincided with the 100th birthday of Dame Cicely Saunders, who started the end of life care hospice in 1967.
“Caring for the people and families of South East London is our primary purpose and passion, which won’t change,” said Heather Richardson, joint chief executive at St Christopher’s Hospice.
“However, we don’t have the resources to reach all the people who need our help and so through these amazing new education facilities, we can share our knowledge and experience more widely not only to improve the support available to dying and bereaved people in our local community, but nationally and around the world. We are so proud to be continuing Dame Cicely Saunders’ legacy of care, research and education through the Learning Hub,” she added.
The Learning Hub will feature a skills lab, an open community space and a café.
At the ceremony, Diane Roberts from Dulwich spoke about her experiences of caring for her mum. “The Learning Hub will have beds and all kinds of practical equipment where you can learn simple things such as how to wash someone. Learning from the expertise of the hospice means people who have become carers like me will feel much more confident and better able to cope, and their loved ones will receive better care,” she said.
Established in 1967 by Cicely Saunders, whose work is considered the basis of modern hospice philosophy, St Christopher’s Hospice is a place where all dying people and those close to them have access to the care and support they need. Each person is unique; therefore the care offered at the hospice meets social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well as manages physical symptoms. Every year they provide care and support to over 6,000 people across South East London, both at home and in the hospice.