An ‘amazing and ‘gentle’ midwife who passed away in March this year after a brave battle with cancer is being remembered by colleagues as they band together to raise money for St Luke’s.

Charlotte D’Alessio, who died the day after her 51st birthday, had worked at Derriford Hospital for almost two decades.

St Luke’s was there to provide care and support for Charlotte and her family, and her colleagues have already raised over £1,200 for our charity.

On 21 July they will come together to take part in our popular Neon Midnight Walk in memory of much-loved Charlotte.

Read more courtesy of Plymouth Live | http://ow.ly/MCK930koUHz

Sign up | www.stlukesmidnightwalk.co.uk

 

 

“You will let me stay here, won’t you?”

Many of us buy the Big Issue or help homeless people by taking part in a soup run, but when it comes to being homeless at the end of life… what then?

At St Luke’s, we believe everyone should be able to access specialist care when time is running short, regardless of their background and circumstances.

That’s why we’ve been working with George House hostel in Plymouth, where we helped enable a long-term resident – aged 54 – to end his days in the place he considered home.

For a homeless person to be able to die, like Iain, in a place of their choice with medical support on hand is still rare.

You can read more about the challenges involved, and the difference we’re helping to make by working in partnership, in this Big Issue article.

Our amazing volunteers are at the heart of St Luke’s and the services we provide. We appreciate them every day and this national Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June 2018), we want to say an extra big thank you to them all for the difference they make.

We spoke with volunteers across our community to gain more insight into the work they do, what motivates them and what they gain in return. As we’re sure you’ll agree, they’re a real inspiration!

Find out more about volunteering opportunities at St Luke’s.

Imagine combining the trip of a lifetime with the opportunity to make a difference both here in Plymouth and in one of the world’s poorest countries – that’s the opportunity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is offering those who want to push their boundaries physically and mentally and use their skills to help global hospice care.

The charity’s Malawi Challenge 2019 combines an exciting physical challenge with helping people in the country known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, while raising vital funds for the compassionate care St Luke’s gives and the special memories the organisation creates every day for patients and their families when time is short.

The eight-day challenge includes a two-day climb up majestic Mulanje Mountain – with the opportunity to run part of the route for those wanting to push themselves even harder – and visits to rural home-based clinics, as well as enjoying some of Africa’s most breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

Famously friendly, Malawi is one of Africa’s most beautiful countries, but it is also one of its poorest, with 60 per cent of its people earning less than 93 pence a day.

Participants in the challenge (6 – 13 April 2019) will see a different side to Africa and meet dedicated, passionate and inspiring people committed to delivering healthcare in a challenging, cripplingly under-resourced environment. It is an opportunity for people from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions to pool their skills for the benefit of Malawians in need of their help.

One of the first to get on board with the challenge is intrepid Ann Brady, who celebrates her 70th birthday this December.

A nurse with 50 years’ experience, Ann is widely travelled and has trekked the Great Wall of China but has never been to Malawi. She is keen to use her nursing skills to benefit those living in the cripplingly poor country, where life expectancy is low.

Ann, who was Marie Curie Nurse of the Year in 2006 and lives in Worcester, said: “A good friend works at St Luke’s and having heard all about the fantastic care the team gives, I’ve been inspired to sign up for this amazing challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all backgrounds with knowledge and skills they can use generously to make a difference, whether they’re health-related or in another area.

“We’ll all come with different experience but share a common goal to help in whatever way we can. It’s also a great opportunity to see stunning scenery, and I’m looking forward to extending my stay so that I can enjoy a safari.”

While those from a medical or social work background can support or offer training workshops to Malawi’s Palliative Care Support Trust Blantyre, which provides palliative care for children and adults through clinics and home visits, those from different backgrounds can use their skills to support other organisations, such as those focussing on education, law and women’s rights.

Speaking about the challenge, Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity – not only for the amazing trip and all the wonderful memories it will create but for people to share their skills, any skills they have, and work with Malawians within the healthcare and community care system.

“Everyone who takes part will be pushing their boundaries physically and mentally, joining a team committed to supporting global hospice care, and really giving something back at home and in the warm heart of Africa as an incredible global compassionate citizen.”

Those taking part in the challenge have the opportunity to extend their stay and enjoy activities such as scuba diving and kayaking at Lake Mulanje – or can simply relax in a hammock and take in the stunning surroundings. They can also travel into Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania or South Africa.

More information about the Malawi Challenge 2019 is available here.

In our ambition to be a ‘Hospice without Walls’, taking our compassionate end of life care to more people regardless of their circumstances, we have been reaching through the walls of Dartmoor Prison to look after inmates facing their last days – and have won prestigious national recognition for our pioneering project!

As finalists in the Delivering Dignity category of the Burdett Nursing Awards, which celebrate good nursing practice, the team behind this groundbreaking work, St Luke’s Community Nurse Specialists Martin Thomas and Derek Hart, plus Care UK’s Sheridan McGinlay, who they work alongside at Dartmoor, were in London recently for the glittering awards ceremony.

They were ecstatic to not only take first prize in their category, securing a £20,000 grant, but to receive the accolade of being overall winners of the awards, adding an extra £10,000 to their pot so that they can build on the project’s success.

It was in 2015 that St Luke’s launched the End of Life Care in Dartmoor Prison project aimed at improving access and increasing end of life care for prisoners, helped by a Burdett Trust grant.

Since then, in an environment many would find challenging, Martin and Derek have helped change the way Dartmoor delivers end of life care, creating a blueprint for other prisons in the process.

Despite its 630 prisoners, an ageing demographic and high levels of chronic diseases, the prison was referring just a small number of patients for specialist palliative care. As was apparent to our team, this was related to a lack of understanding of, and low expectations around, end of life care. However, with the prison’s Healthcare Team keen to change this, our team worked in partnership with them to facilitate positive changes through regular meetings and clinics, as well as staff training.

Thanks to this approach, and despite considerable challenges around prison security, the internal drug culture and Victorian prison wings, the number of prisoners accessing end of life services has increased seven-fold, care is patient-centered and integrated, and there is greater choice for prisoners in the care they receive.

Importantly, the prison’s culture is now more compassionate. A ‘buddy system’ is seeing inmates support each other by giving practical help to the less able, and they are also receiving training to become listeners. In addition, there’s now a dedicated wing for those who require care, and good take up of St Luke’s Advance Care plan, which lets staff know the individual’s wishes if that person is unable to speak up for themselves in their last days.

Speaking about the awards, George Lillie, Deputy Chief Executive at St Luke’s, said: “It’s fantastic that our dedicated team has received such well-deserved recognition, and encouraging that working in partnership is bringing our compassionate care to those who are often forgotten. Well done to everyone involved!”

In a hospital environment, a sensitive approach to necessary but difficult conversations with patients’ families is key. In Derriford Hospital Plymouth space is very tight and a creative solution has been sought to provide staff there with guidance to enhance communication at these times.

To help with this, the hospital called on the expertise of Dr Sioned Evans, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s, who worked with colleagues to develop the SPACE initiative. Based on established good practice in communication, the plan is to role it out across the hospital to help staff prepare and plan for sensitive conversations.

“We chose the acronym SPACE because space is both the problem and the solution,” said Sioned.

For more information please call St Luke’s hospital team (Level 8) on 01752 436744.

Known as ‘the stuff of legends’, the Marathon des Sables is the toughest foot race on Earth.

So we have been blown away by the awe-inspiring achievements of two friends who have shown true grit (and then some!) by completing this most gruelling of challenges to support us, raising a fantastic £8,000 – and still counting.

Their personal reasons for getting behind our charity enabled Jamie Shewbrook and Jonathan Gliddon, who live in Plymouth, to muster the huge mental and physical strength needed to endure the multi-stage, mixed terrain race, which covers over 156 miles in the harshest of environments – the Sahara Desert.

Jonathan’s decision to support St Luke’s took on extra significance for him when his cousin Richard was admitted to our specialist unit at Turnchapel just before the race. Knowing time was running short for Richard, and that he was receiving our compassionate care, enabled Jonathan to dig extra deep and overcome chronic back pain, disturbances of vision, heatstroke and having to have each toe lanced daily to complete the incredible challenge.

Jonathan said: “The race takes you to extremes – not just physically but mentally, too. When I felt ready to quit, knowing Richard was at St Luke’s gave me that extra push to keep going despite the pain and harsh conditions.

“Incredibly, on the final day of the race I seemed to get extra strength from somewhere and it wasn’t until after I’d finished that I learned it was then that Richard had passed away.”

Before taking on the Marathon des Sables, Jamie – who saw three friends receive St Luke’s care – had already raised an amazing £27,000 for us, including conquering Mount Kilimanjaro in 2003, trekking across the Arctic with huskies, cycling to John O’Groates and more.

Completing the Marathon des Sables had long been a goal for him, and finishing 97th out of 1,000 was the icing on the cake!

He said: “Each day of the race got harder and harder for different reasons, whether it was the terrain, heat or distance. The longest was Day 4, when I covered over 53 miles in 13 hours 17 minutes.

“The long stage was the most gruelling but also the most satisfying. I knew then that all I had to do was complete a marathon on Day 6 and I would have achieved my goal.

“All the way through, it helped to know I was making a difference for St Luke’s. Most people in Plymouth have been touched or know someone who has been cared for by the team. It’s such a fantastic local charity and really needs our support.”

Well done, Jamie and Jonathan! And thank you so much – the money you have raised will make a big difference.

We hope you’ve been enjoying a well-deserved rest!

When it comes to encouraging more open discussion around the sensitive subjects of death and dying, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is leading the herd, with a fun and enchanting trail that’s set to add a splash of colour across our city and get people talking.

In collaboration with independent children’s books publisher Andersen Press and creator of public art events Wild in Art, St Luke’s is bringing Elmer the patchwork elephant – the iconic, much-loved storybook character created by Devon-born author and artist David McKee – to Plymouth for Elmer’s Big Parade in 2019, 30 years since Andersen Press first published the Elmer story.
For ten weeks over summer 2019, the eye-catching Elmer’s Big Parade will be adding colour and fun to the city and surrounding areas, where St Luke’s cares for patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses and supports their families and carers.

The 40 unique elephant sculptures, each painted by an established or emerging local artist, will form a trail that will both attract new visitors to Plymouth, curious to see what Elmer is up to, and encourage residents to explore areas they might not have ventured to before.
The sculptures will help people ‘navigate’ the city while increasing awareness of St Luke’s, de-mystifying death, dying and hospice care, and raising vital funds to help the charity look after more patients who need its compassionate care.

The project also includes an interactive app to help people follow the herd, detailing the sculpture locations and enabling them to join the Elmer community by uploading selfies as they go.
Running alongside the trail will be an engaging interactive educational programme for Key Stage 2 and 3 school children that will aid their understanding of death and dying in an age-appropriate way.

Elmer’s Big Parade will be formally launched on 21 March 2018 at Ocean Studios, when a bespoke Elmer designed by popular local artist Brian Pollard will take pride of place alongside a ‘classic’ bright patchwork Elmer.

Following the launch, artists will be invited to submit their designs from June 2018, with the sculpture trail opening in July 2019.

Speaking about the project, St Luke’s Chief Executive Steve Statham said: “An elephant never forgets and that’s a key message for us, too. We want to help people create lasting memories and at St Luke’s we are very proud that we can do this for many patients and their families.

“We’re really excited about Elmer’s Big Parade. As well as being full of fun that will spread a big grin across Plymouth and the wider area, it will encourage meaningful discussion about death, dying and bereavement, subjects we often shy away from but would all benefit from being more open about.
“In addition to being a great free and healthy day out for all the family as they walk the trail, it will also attract new visitors to our city, raising Plymouth’s profile and bringing economic benefits, as well as showcasing a wealth of local artistic talent.”

Charlie Langhorne, Director, Wild in Art, added: “By joining forces with Andersen Press and creating a blank 3D canvas inspired by the famous patchwork elephant, we just know that this big parade will have a positive impact on Plymouth’s residents and visitors, and of course St Luke’s. With similar parades featuring Elmer in Ipswich and Tyne & Wear too, we’re excited to be turning the country patchwork for fantastic causes in 2019.”

Paul Black, PR Director, Andersen Press, added: “We are delighted to be working with St Luke’s and Wild in Art on this project, and cannot wait to see the colourful Elmers around Plymouth – to bring this amazing trail to Plymouth, a place so close to the heart of David McKee, Elmer’s creator, is really the icing on the cake. Here’s hoping we raise lots of money for St Luke’s Hospice, whilst making a fun, inclusive and interactive trail for the public.”

St Luke’s is offering local businesses and other organisations the opportunity to sponsor one of the 40 unique Elmer sculptures that are set to enchant and inspire. Ultimately, these sculptures will be auctioned off to raise money for St Luke’s, ensuring a fitting legacy for the people and communities of Plymouth and the surrounding areas which benefit from the charity’s outstanding care.

Local artists and businesses, find out more!

What can you do to make Plymouth a compassionate place for everyone living, studying and working here? That’s the big topic drawing people from across education, the arts, business, health, charities and the voluntary sector to join the conversation at the Compassionate City Conference on 17 May, facilitated by St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.

As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week (14 – 20 May), the charity is facilitating the event to highlight the positive work already happening across the city while encouraging co-operation and collaboration to address current and future challenges.

According to the Compassionate City Charter for end of life, a compassionate city is a community that recognises that all natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, love and loss occur every day across our society. It defines a compassionate community as one that recognises that care for one another at times of crisis and loss is not solely a task for health and social services but is everyone’s responsibility.

Key speakers at the event include Allan Kellehear, Professor of Sociology and Compassionate Care at the University of Bradford and author of ‘Compassionate Cities: Public Health and End of Life Care’, and Tam Martin Fowles, UK Ambassador for the Charter for Compassion International, Hope in the Heart CIC.

In addition, delegates will hear about inspirational case studies, including those relating to St Luke’s work with the homeless and prisoners, and participate in round table discussions to share information, ideas and form actions that can make a difference in any setting, from schools and colleges to places of worship, the workplace, care homes and cafes.

Speaking about the conference, Abenaa Gyamfuah-Assibey, St Luke’s Community Development Worker, said: “We’re proud to be part of this vital conversation, which will encourage the kind of joined-up thinking our city needs to put ideas into action and see positive outcomes that will support everyone at times of difficulty and loss, regardless of their age or background.

“An important part of this – as outlined in the charter – is raising awareness around death and dying, loss and care. It is in communities and workplaces that we need to tackle these ‘taboo’ subjects, and for this to happen we need to work together with everyone who has an interest in having a more open discussion.”

The conference takes place  at Boringdon Park Golf Club from 8.30am to 5pm. Places are £10 per person and can be booked online.

As two of the city’s most popular fundraising events are launched this month, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is laying down a challenge to men and women in the community – who can raise the most funds for the vital end of life care the charity provides?

Men’s Day Out and the ladies’ Neon Midnight Walk are two of St Luke’s flagship events, raising money to help ensure it can continue to give free and outstanding care to people living with a life limiting progressive illness, as well as supporting their families.

Both events are an opportunity for people to gather their friends, walk in memory of loved ones and create new memories while enjoying the fun atmosphere.

This year’s Men’s Day Out, on Saturday 24 March, is set to be manlier than ever. Powered by IU Energy, the day of rugby and banter will see 2,000 men – many in fancy dress – walking a 12km route through Plymouth city centre and along the South West Coast Path before enjoying a well-earned pasty and pint at Plymouth Albion RFC, where they’ll see Albion take on Coventry in a top of the table clash.

Events Fundraiser Rebecca Kelly said, “Men’s Day Out, generously sponsored by IU Energy, is hugely popular and sells out fast, so we’re urging our male supporters to register now to avoid disappointment. It’s a chance for them to do their bit, remember loved ones and have a great time.”

Registration for the event is £32, which provides a t-shirt, pasty, pint and rugby match ticket as well as covering the logistics of the day.

Also putting their best foot forward for St Luke’s will be thousands of women ‘getting their glow on’ to take part in this summer’s Neon Midnight Walk, on Saturday 21 July. The event, sponsored by Nash & Co Solicitors, will see the ladies striding along a 3, 6 or 13.1 mile route from the Piazza, Royal Parade, through Plymouth, remembering loved ones and enjoying the electric atmosphere with their friends.

There will be a warm-up with party tunes at the Piazza before the first walkers set off at 9pm. This year’s warm up will be lead by Cheezifit, the new craze that’s sweeping Plymouth, the innovative way to exercise whilst listening to your favourite cheesey tunes.

Rebecca Kelly said, “Uniting the women of our community, our Neon Midnight Walk is the city’s favourite ladies’ night out. We’re grateful to Nash & Co Solicitors for supporting this event once again, and we’re urging women of all ages and fitness levels to go even bigger and brighter this year, with neon outfits, lots of sparkle and glow sticks. And we’re introducing some good-natured rivalry – will it be the guys or the girls who raise the most for St Luke’s through these two events?”

Registration for the Neon Midnight Walk costs £22 and includes an exclusive neon t-shirt, as well as a medal and goody bag for all finishers.

Register for either of these events online, or call 01752 492626 for further details.