Women Talking

Chesterfield hospice receives funding for equipment to begin recording the life stories of patients

Arlene Honeyman, Head of Supportive Care at Ashgate Hospicecare said, “For the families of patients who are in a time of grieving, listening to the recording of a loved one who is no longer with us can be a real source of comfort. All of the staff and volunteers involved are really looking forward to being part of such a special project and we hope that these memories of treasured lives can be passed on through the generations with the voice of the loved one secured.”

Ashgate Hospicecare, in Chesterfield, are thrilled to have received over one thousand pounds from the Derbyshire County Council Public Health ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing Small Grants Scheme’.

Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement once said, “How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.” This grant, which will enable the Hospice to buy the equipment needed to begin their new Oral History Project, will give patients with a life-limiting illness the opportunity to produce audio recordings of their life story.

Sarah Kerry, Day Hospice sister at Ashgate Hospicecare said, “We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to honour patients and their families by offering such a valuable and quality input into recording their precious life story. Not only is the process of telling one’s life story often very therapeutic for patients who know they have limited time, it also empowers them to leave a truly unique gift to the people they love.”

Over the past few months, Ashgate Hospicecare have been working closely with the University of Sheffield, who have been researching and providing oral history services in palliative care for over ten years, to develop this new service for patients and their families.

Once staff and volunteers at the Hospice have completed their training, patients will have the opportunity to tell their life story, in their own time and in their own voice, and to have the recordings saved onto a CD or memory stick as a unique and lasting gift for their loved ones to keep. The patients will also have the option to archive their recording at the University of Sheffield, where it will become a lasting social and historical resource.

One participant said, “I never knew I would be able to leave a lovely and unique legacy to my two children when I pass away… I can’t put into words what this has truly meant to me, and hopefully my family”.

The grant that was awarded to the hospice comes also with special thanks to the team at Derbyshire Voluntary Action who supported the hospice in gaining this funding. Ashgate Hospicecare hope to ensure that the Oral History Project is a sustainable project that will continue and grow for years to come.

If you know of any way that you can support this project or would like to donate to Ashgate Hospicecare, please call the hospice on 01246 568801

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