2380-2Since St Giles Hospice opened its Supportive Care Centre in Sutton Coldfield in 2007, the team has worked tirelessly to provide a range of groups and services to help meet the needs of all its patients.

In the fifth of our series marking the 10th anniversary of the centre, we speak to Supportive Care Director, Nikki Archer, as she details the day-to-day services offered at the centre and how people can access them.

“The work that we do at our Sutton centre is so important as it really helps people who have a serious illnesses to live well,” Nikki explains.

“Our vision for St Giles Sutton is that it continues to develop as a community hub for people living with cancer and other illnesses which may not be curable, such as multiple sclerosis and pulmonary fibrosis. We are continually working to develop the range of groups and services on offer at the centre to meet the support needs of local people.

“The centre gives people an opportunity to come together and share their experiences in a warm and supportive atmosphere where everyone understands what they are going through. But it’s also about helping and supporting people in living their lives as fully as possible.

“Our team spend time getting to know people so we can make sure the support we provide is exactly what they need, for their physical, mental and social wellbeing recognising that everyone is different.”

“We help people improve their quality of life by helping them to maintain their independence and sense of hope,” adds Nikki. “This could include practical help with mobility problems, anxiety and breathlessness management.

“The services on offer take a wide variety of forms. We provide lymphoedema treatments, counselling and complementary therapy sessions; exercise, walking and wellbeing groups, as well as support such as lunch clubs and coffee mornings.  The groups play a pivotal part in bringing people together, helping to reduce the isolation which many people and their carers can feel. There is a real sense of community at the centre.”.

The Bereavement Help Point is open every Monday from 10am for anyone within the community who has been or is facing a bereavement. It offers the opportunity for people to access advice, support and information as well as providing a chance for people to meet with others who have also been bereaved.

Nikki adds: “We couldn’t do what we do at the centre without the support of our fantastic volunteers from the local area; they play an incredibly important and valuable role in helping to provide all our groups and services.

“Over the years we have also developed strong partnerships with other local organisations and charities to provide support for people. There is a real benefit and value of us working together. These have included the Cancer Support Centre, Sutton Breast Friends, Birmingham Carers and Good Hope Hospital, who work with us in putting on activities and events for patients and playing a part in making the centre the place that it is.”

To celebrate St Giles Supportive Care Centre’s 10th anniversary, St Giles is hosting afternoon tea on Sunday 7th May between 2pm and 5pm. Visitors can enjoy full afternoon tea with drinks on arrival, live music and a raffle for £25 per person. To book a place please contact Linda Bridges, Corporate and Community Engagement Officer at the Supportive Care Centre, on 0121 378 6297.

The Supportive Care Centre offers many different activities including:

  • Choir – every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 1.30pm
  • Bereavement help point – Mondays from 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Cafe – Open weekdays from 10.00am-2.00pm
  • Drop-in afternoon – Fridays from 1.30pm onwards
  • Coffee morning (with speaker) – every second Tuesday of the month from 10.30am-12pm
  • Walking group – Mondays between 11.00am-12pm
  • Pulmonary fibrosis support sessions – first Tuesday of every month from 2.00pm-4.00pm
  • Group complementary therapy – Thursdays between 11.30am-12.30pm
  • Lunch club – Tuesdays from 12.00pm-2.00pm
  • MS exercise sessions – Thursdays at 10.15am and 11.30am
  • Making jewellery – Fridays between 11.00am-12.30pm
  • Teach us to pray: practising personal prayer – Thursdays from 11am-12pm.

St Giles spends over £9 million a year providing its specialist services and with little more than a third of this funded by the Government, the registered charity relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community. For more information, visit www.stgileshospice.com.