A terminal illness charity is attempting to bust the myths of hospice, by opening its doors to the general public with a new café.
The Marie Curie Café at the charity’s Cardiff and the Vale Hospice in Penarth was officially opened by actress Suzanne Packer, who is soon to appear in series two of Keeping Faith.
The Marie Curie Café, situated in the basement of the hospice, has opened its doors not only to staff, patients and families – but will also be open to members of the public, who may be walking past in the nearby Windsor Gardens, and fancy popping in for a coffee and a cake.
As one of the UK’s leading terminal illness charities, Marie Curie provides round-the-clock expert care and support to people living with a terminal illness, and their families at the Bridgeman Road Hospice.
Marie Curie also provides support to people in their own homes, and its Information and Support Line now also features clinical nurse specialists who are available for any clinical support needed.
The work to create the new café has been funded by the Hodge Foundation, who also supported the refurbishment of the hospice’s Day Therapy and Outpatients Unit in 2016.
At the opening, cakes from the hospice’s catering team were showcased, with staff, volunteers and patients joining Suzanne and the Hodge Foundation to enjoy Welsh cakes and tea and coffee.
Further works at the hospice, funded by a Legacy gift from the estate of Mrs Seaward have included the installation of a Spa bathroom on both inpatient units.
There has also been further maintenance work carried out alongside the bathroom and café works. The works have been unveiled in a year in which the hospice is due to celebrate its 60th year.
Sarah Lloyd-Davies, hospice manager, said:
“We are so grateful to the Hodge Foundation for once again supporting vital work to not only allow us to continue to provide expert end of life care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families but also to help us expand our reach to the community in Penarth.
“We want people to understand more about the work we do here, and are excited to open our café doors and encourage people to come in and have conversations with us about end of life care.
“Thank you also to the estate of Mrs Seaward for allowing us to create two relaxing and calming Spa bathrooms for patients, which help elevate the service we can provide at the hospice.”
Volunteer Ian Spence, who has been volunteering on reception for 11 years, is now also spending some hours helping in the café.
He said: “It makes me feel good about myself. I get to give something back to the community, or rather put something into it.
“The hospice is such a warm place to come to and the staff are all fantastic at making everyone feel welcome.”
Suzanne, who has previously visited the hospice with brother and Olympian Colin Jackson, said: “It’s been a pleasure to officially open the new Marie Curie Café at the charity’s Cardiff and the Vale Hospice in Penarth.
“Meeting the staff, volunteers and families and hearing stories about the care provided here for people living with a terminal illness has been inspiring. I wish the hospice every luck with their new venture, and hope it will encourage more people to talk about the end of life with their loved ones.”
The Marie Curie café is currently open from 9.30am to 1pm Monday to Friday, with plans to expand hours with trained volunteers.
If you would like to volunteer, contact the hospice on 029 2042 6000 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/volunteering