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Rutland hospice will offer day care to vulnerable

The new extension and patio area EMN-140519-105938001
The new extension and patio area EMN-140519-105938001

Plans have been revealed for a hospice in the county offering palliative day care.

Chris Gatfield, who founded Dove Cottage in Stathern near Melton Mowbray 20 years ago, says she is keen to open a similar hospice set-up in the county within the next year.

Dove Cottage has taken people from the Rutland area but it is a long journey and according to Chris, is no longer realistically accessible using public transport.

She said: “It could be a really exciting project and people have said to us there is nowhere like this in Rutland. The local Clinical Commissioning Group is aware of our plans and is backing us.”

Chris said health professionals in the county had also been approached and were also in favour.

Initially the hospice would open for two days a week to about eight people suffering from cancer or other long-term progressive illnesses. It would be staffed by nursing staff and volunteers.

Dove Cottage operates on a charitable basis and all its services are free and the Rutland hospice would operate in a similar way. Dove Cottage cares for more than 4,000 people a year.

Chris is now looking for suitable premises to lease, preferably an old farmhouse in the countryside.

She said: “Here at Dove Cottage we were given an old building that we have refurbished and over the years we have added to it and we quite like the idea of a similar set-up in Rutland.

“We want to be in a beautiful rural area where the people that come to us can get away from it all - we certainly don’t want to be in Oakham High Street.

“We want it to be something that the community can come on board with and take ownership of. I think people in Rutland should be able to access these local services.”

Chris said she would need to raise up to £30,000 and if she had that to hand, she said: “We could open the doors tomorrow”.

She said: “It’s very achievable. We have done this before, we have the proper systems in place and all we would have to do is make the building fit for purpose.”

Chris will be having an information board at the cancer and wellbeing day being held at Uppingham Surgery on February 10, between 11am and 4pm, for anyone who wants to find out more about the plans.

Alternatively she is happy to talk to people, particularly those with land to offer. Call Dove Cottage on 01949 860303.


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