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Family cooks up a new kitchen for hospice

Joyce Spencer, her family and St Oswald's staff in the new kitchen.
Joyce Spencer, her family and St Oswald's staff in the new kitchen.

An out-of-date hospice kitchen has had a much-needed makeover, thanks to a family who received care there.

Joyce Spencer, from Alnwick, donated the money for the refurbishment of the kitchen on the adult inpatient unit at St Oswald’s in memory of her husband, Andy.

The kitchen is a place where families can take some time out but it was out of date and no longer fit for purpose.

Thanks to the family donation, the space has been transformed in to a stylish and more spacious kitchen.

Andy spent four months being cared for at the hospice last year.

Joyce said: “My family and I had no previous experience of hospices before coming to St Oswald’s and I remember the feeling of trepidation when we arrived.

“Andy and I were both very nervous and upset and we didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived though, the staff were so sympathetic and kind to us which helped immensely.

“Initially, we were told that Andy would just stay at St Oswald’s for two weeks while he had radiotherapy but he was unable to come home.”

She continued: “For me, the kitchen was a haven of peace and sometimes I just needed a few minutes to pull myself together. It’s also a good place to meet others in the same position as yourself. Unfortunately the kitchen was also in a shabby condition.

“One day I saw people measuring the kitchen and staff said it was due to be refurbished. They had some more earmarked for the refurbishment but with donations from myself, family and a collection from Andy’s funeral, we were able to donate a further £23,000.

“It is so obvious that everyone at the hospice works hard to support patients and their families and I knew I wanted to help. It also felt like the perfect way to remember Andy as he liked to support community projects. And he loved a cup of tea!”

Joyce is delighted with the way the kitchen has turned out.

“The new kitchen is amazing and has exceeded our expectations. It was an honour to support the project as it meant the kitchen is custom-built instead of being a cheap makeover. It’s definitely fit for purpose without looking clinical,” she said.

“I found it very difficult to come to terms with what was happening to my husband and I am certain that I would have struggled even more without the support I had, and continue to have, from St Oswald’s, so I’m pleased to have been able to support the hospice in this way.”

St Oswald’s provides hospice care to adults, young adults and children from across the region. Visit www.stoswaldsuk.org