Claire Irving launches our Moving Story appeal

Claire Irving launches our Moving Story appeal

Claire Irving, Martlets CEO, launches the Martlets Moving Story appeal which will raise vital funds for the new hospice site in Hove.

Will you join us and be part of our moving story and transform hospice care for people facing dying, death and bereavement in our community?

I joined Martlets as CEO in March 2022 and I have been blown away by the generosity of people across our community. The support from our community has meant that every year, for 25 years, thousands of local people have received our care as they face dying, death and bereavement.

Our care has been there in the community during the toughest of times, offering the compassion and expertise we are known for and a shoulder to lean on when people have been facing the worst of times – the loss of a loved one.

Martlets redevelopment

Martlets is currently undergoing an ambitious redevelopment of its Hospice site in Hove, and I am asking everyone in our community to be part of our moving story and invest today in the future of hospice care for Brighton & Hove, the Deans and the Havens.

The support we receive today will play a critical role in helping Martlets provide the best possible care to patients and their loved ones. With our community’s help, we can build a new Hospice that will allow us to continue meeting the needs of our community and reach more people that need end-of-life care across Brighton & Hove, the Havens and Deans for many years to come.

Claire Irving in a hard hat at our new hospice building site

I am asking people to support more than a new building. I am asking people to support the future transformation of hospice care in the local community.

Taking the decision to redevelop the Hospice site so soon after the global pandemic was not an easy one. But it is absolutely the right decision. Our existing site served our community well for the past 25 years, providing compassionate end-of-life care. But demand for our services has increased and the need to deliver care not only on our inpatient unit, but also in people’s own homes and at care homes across the city is growing daily.

The pandemic shone a stark light on our Hospice building of the last 25 years and the very real and present need for change. Our Hospice was no longer fit for purpose and we needed to act to protect hospice care now and in the future. The sad reality is that the building where Martlets teams were delivering dedicated compassionate care was no longer able to support this work in the way that we needed it to.

The pandemic brought into sharp focus that shared bays of beds could no longer provide the stringent infection control spaces we needed, but also that the patients being cared for in them lacked the privacy and dignity we all want and deserve at the end-of-life.

Our outpatient areas were not big enough to meet demand and our bereavement spaces were located at the end of our ward, making it incredibly difficult for returning family members to seek the solace and support they needed.

Martlets new home

The new Hospice will ensure greater dignity, privacy, comfort and independence for every patient. Their rooms will have ensuite facilities as well as access to a garden terrace. The rooms will give patients the space to be with loved ones and the ability to have privacy when they wish, knowing a member of our nursing team is right there when they need them.

Improving the inpatient facilities will also support our colleagues working with patients in their own homes, and patients that are visiting our outpatient services. It will be a warm and welcoming environment where patients and their loved ones can receive the support they need.

That means better rehabilitation and gym spaces where therapists can work more effectively to keep people mobile and safe in their own homes for longer. Our rehab gym will open out to a garden that will help people preparing to leave our inpatient unit gain confidence to be able to walk outside.

Updated counselling spaces will enable Martlets counsellors to support more people who are preparing for and coping with bereavement. Better office space will support the community team who provide the 24-hour telephone hub, supporting people’s immediate needs with specialist over-the-phone advice when they need it.

The new Martlets will also have improved gardens where patients can spend time outdoors, one of which will be a sensory garden to support patients with dementia. We know how time outside, with the sun on our face, the birdsong on the air, can help people feel human and connected when facing the hardest times in their lives. It’s these little things that make hospice care so personal and special.

At the front of our new Hospice there will be a beautiful Sanctuary space for quiet reflection. Hospice care is for everyone and ensuring people have a space to follow their beliefs and feel welcome is vital. Our new Sanctuary will enable everyone to find their peace.

Along with my board of trustees, I truly believe that this new Hospice not only meet the needs of our community now, it will also enhance the quality of care we provide to people across our community for many years to come.

Our new Hospice has been expertly designed to meet the needs of modern healthcare while also meeting the highest standards of environmental sustainability – it will be an asset to the community it serves and provide a base for the very best in specialist support for years to come.

This new building is costing £10 million. We have committed £7m from our charitable reserves and have already secured £2.6m in donations and pledges. We now need to raise the final £400,000 to ensure we can complete the Hospice build to the standard our community deserves.

The space to make memories that matter

I hope that our community will consider supporting this appeal to help us build a space where families and friends can find comfort and solace through the darkest of times.

Knowing that someone you love is gravely ill is a huge pressure. The pandemic exposed every one of us to the distress of not being able to see, touch, and be near those important to us. Remembering the last time you hugged your loved one, or the last words you spoke with them is an important part of the bereavement process. Sadly the pandemic took away those moments and has left lasting scars for us all. We know that people want to spend precious time with their loved one but also value being able to take a break and draw breath, knowing that their family member is just around the corner. The people we care for also need to know their loved ones are being looked after.

That’s why we have committed to including a family room in the new Hospice building. A space where people can go to take a moment to relax. These spaces are so important because often the grieving starts with news of a terminal diagnosis. It’s a difficult process and visiting a loved one at the Hospice can involve so many different emotions. Having a calming, comfortable, safe space for families and friends is a vital part of transforming hospice care for all.

Every donation made to Martlets Moving Story to support the family room will have a lasting impact for years to come.

It will mean that friends and family of patients facing the toughest of times will have their own space to be able to take a break when they need it.

If you are able to please make your donation here.


Published 15/06/2023