On Friday 25th October Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, visited the Cottage Hospice site in Five Ashes (part of his constituency), near Mayfield, with Rob Woolley, Chief Executive, and Holly Cowen, Head of Cottage Hospice.
The Cottage Hospice, which is due to open in late November, is the fifth service Hospice in the Weald offers – alongside Hospice in the Home, In-Patient Ward, Hospice Day Service and Counselling and Support Service – and it is the first time that a service like Cottage Hospice has been available anywhere in the UK.
Cottage Hospice will be a home-from-home environment in which a patient’s loved ones are empowered to care for them at end of life with support from Hospice volunteers. There are 10 individual, family-sized rooms, each with its own private bathroom, a kitchen, a café and a large multi-purpose space. Every room has been carefully designed and will be decorated to feel like a home rather than a hospital room.
As a supporter of the Hospice movement, Huw was keen to understand how Cottage Hospice would provide vital support for his constituents, helping meet more unmet need in the local community.
Huw commented: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit the new Cottage Hospice which is nearing completion in the village of Five Ashes in my constituency. Hospice in the Weald do an amazing job in our area supporting local residents and families who need support with end of life care. However, the hospice’s knowledge and experience has led them to build a new model of hospice in Five Ashes which will be the first of its kind in the UK. The new Cottage Hospice will allow close family and friends to be the key care givers during their loved ones final days in a supported and caring environment when it may be too difficult to remain at home. This means that they can stay in the hospice and share a room with their loved one during this precious time.
“I learnt a lot about end of life care from Rob and Holly during my visit and I agree with them that end of life can and should be supported as a natural process rather than a medical one. To be able to give or receive care from our closest relatives and friends is probably what most of us would prefer and the Cottage Hospice will allow more people to have that choice. I firmly believe that this new model of Hospice care is the way forward for palliative care.”
Rob Woolley, Chief Executive, said: “We were delighted to show Huw Cottage Hospice now that it is so close to opening. Cottage Hospice will give local patients, families and carers more choice at the end of life. Most people wish to continue to be cared for by their loved ones, and Cottage Hospice will empower family caregivers as part of this.”
Huw is not the first MP to have visited the unique Cottage Hospice while it is under construction: earlier this year Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, toured the site with Chief Executive Rob and Holly Cowen, Head of Cottage Hospice.