This year Royal Trinity Hospice celebrates its 125th anniversary. A lot has changed in the world of death and dying since we were founded in 1891 for ‘the man who is neither curable nor incurable but simply dying’. People can go a lifetime without seeing a dead body. Death is more of a taboo than ever. The population in need of palliative care continues to rise. That’s why we are launching our campaign to open an innovative new centre: to enable more people to access the care they need at the end of life and to help our communities’ improve their relationship with death and dying.

The new centre

The Royal Trinity Centre’s primary purpose will be to provide outpatient and community-facing services to patients and those close to them living in the north part of our catchment area. We believe that currently people living on the north side don’t always know about or access all the services available to them at our base south of the river, so by bringing services closer to them we will enable more people to benefit from contact with us. The centre will also create opportunities to work with local groups and partners to offer new health and wellbeing activities, and provide space for training and use by other community groups.

Death on the high street

While the new Centre will form an exciting extension to our current service provision, we feel we have a responsibility to do more. We believe we have an important role in challenging the taboo around death and dying and offer the local community a welcoming and safe place to consider and explore all the aspects of death and dying right on their own high street.

Those working in end of life and hospice care know that despite recent media attention, and national campaigns, talking about death and dying in our society remains a challenge. We also know that to talk and plan for death (and then get on with living) can alleviate anxiety and difficulties for all involved.

That’s why the centre would be open to anyone from the local community who wanted to drop by to talk about death or dying. Maybe because they or a loved one has had a life limiting illness diagnosed and they need some information or to talk to someone. Maybe they are fit and well but want to seek advice on Will writing, their digital legacy and other ways to plan for dying. Maybe they are simply looking for a quiet space to have a cup of tea and reflect in our cafe. Whatever the reason, our vision is for a centre that becomes known locally as the ‘go to’ place for information, support and advice on death and dying.

 Our campaign

All this comes at a cost. Royal Trinity Hospice is seeking to raise £3.5million over the next 3 years to fund the initial costs of the centre plus the running costs for the first 5 years. It’s a big ask, in addition to the £8million we need to raise for our existing services every year, but we are confident we are up for the challenge. We promise to keep you posted on our progress!

If you would like to know about the 125 campaign or our plans for the Royal Trinity Centre, please contact [email protected].