At Eden Valley Hospice, Staff Nurse Alison Foster had a lump in her throat when the donation was announced and she was presented with a surprise bouquet of flowers. “It’s incredibly moving to think that The Cumberland have donated so much,” said Alison, who feels incredibly proud to be a nurse at Eden Valley Hospice. “It’s an absolute privilege to work with patients and families in end of life care. It is a very sad time but also a very precious time.”
It was 30 years ago that Alison first visited EVH when she helped organise a charity football match. “From that day on I knew I would find a way to work here,” she said. “On my first shift I walked 9 miles up and down the corridors – I was exhausted. But I wouldn’t work anywhere else.”
Health Care Assistant Carol Douglas has had various roles at EVH over the years including activities co-ordinator and chef – but it is on the ward, where she can connect with patients and families, that she feels most at home. “There’s a very special atmosphere here,” said Carol. “It’s very homely, calm and reassuring. We have the time to build trust, to listen, to care. They let us in – and that feels very special.”
Hospice at Home Nurse Lynne Reside works nights - a time when people often become frightened and want to talk. “Nights can seem very long for patients in bed with their thoughts - and for their families who may be barely sleeping as they are so worried about what is going to happen.
“Just having someone there, outside that close knit circle, who can reassure them and help them feel a little safer can make such a difference. Often people want to talk, to share memories, to look at photographs. These are very special times and I am always moved by people’s trust in me.”
In her role as Eden Valley Hospice Fundraising Manager, Eleanor Viney often hears stories from families keen to talk about the impact that the hospice has had on them. And she is bowled over by the generosity of The Cumberland whose donation ensures that this highly valued care can continue to make a difference for so many families: “Thank you so much. I know we say it a lot, but we really mean it. Our care is here for families because of your kindness - thank you.”
Her thoughts are echoed by fundraiser Kylie Palmer at Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland. “It’s not often that we get a donation like this, especially given the challenging times we are living in, and we could not be more grateful.”
It’s all very humbling, says The Cumberland’s chief customer officer Claire Deekes. “I want to say thank you, on behalf of our members, to all our hospices for doing such a wonderful job. The care they provide, day in, day out, is incredible.”
When you think of hospice care, people’s immediate thought is of the wonderful nursing teams. But alongside the nurses is a huge army of staff and volunteers including social workers, counsellors, befrienders and housekeepers who are all incredibly grateful for The Cumberland’s generous donation.
Debbie McKenna, Chief Executive at Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland, is delighted at the news: "We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to The Cumberland Building Society and Affinity Account savers. Your support along with your incredible donation
will help to ensure patients going through the most difficult of times receive the vital care and support they need.
“Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakeland are extremely grateful for the continued support we receive from The Cumberland Building Society and their customers, particularly during these challenging times we are all facing. These partnerships play a vital role within the charity and without them we simply would not be able to provide the care we do. Your kindness and generosity will help to provide local patients and their families with care and comfort all within the home they love".
It’s a stark fact that Eden Valley Hospice receives only 20 per cent of statutory funding which means that, without donations and grants, the hospice could only open for 3 months a year, says EVH Chief Executive Julie Clayton:“We are so grateful to The Cumberland - and their Affinity Account savers - for their incredibly generous ongoing support of the hospice. It’s no secret that we are living through very challenging times so this donation is very much appreciated.”