A group of community district nurses are swapping their uniforms for walking boots to raise money for the Winchester Hospice.
The Winchester Rural East (WRE) integrated care team, who are renaming themselves the WRE Hospice Hikers for the challenge, are walking around the 25 mile patch that they cover on 7 April to raise vital funds and awareness of the hospice.
The team of eight, who provide nursing, treatment and support at home and in the local community for people with a range of health problems and conditions, will set off from Alresford Surgery before heading to West Meon Surgery and Mansfield Park Surgery, in Four Marks, before finishing back at Alresford Surgery, walking an incredible 25 miles by doing so.
Community staff nurse Sarah Henshall is one of the nurses taking on this challenge. She said: “We are all really passionate about end of life care and so we were thrilled when we heard that a new hospice was going to be set up in Winchester. This much-needed service will really benefit our patients but it does need support and money to make it happen.
Lou Bryant, integrated clinical lead added: “We have all been training together, which has been great, and everyone is excited for the big day! There will be some tough moments, but everyone in the team is there to support each other and knowing it’s for such a good cause will make those challenging parts that little bit easier.
“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, especially Andy Salter, the owner of The Home Shop in Winchester, who has kindly provided the team with personalised t-shirts for the walk, which we couldn’t be happier with!”
Over £2.5 million is needed to convert Burrell House, which is on the site of Royal Hampshire County Hospital, into Winchester Hospice. The hospice will have 10 inpatient beds and become a community hub for specialist palliative care services locally, with day therapies and outpatient facilities being run out of the newly converted space.
With no hospice currently situated in the city, Winchester Hospice will allow patients and their families to spend less time travelling to receive care or visit a loved one, and more time enjoying special moments together.
Fundraising manager for Winchester Hospice, Judith Charmer, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the nurses’ support. They have all been training exceptionally hard and it will be an amazing achievement.
“From their work in the community, they know exactly how important the hospice will be for the area. We want everyone to get behind us to raise those all-important funds so that work can begin to convert Burrell House into Winchester Hospice. With the help of the community, we can open the doors to the Winchester Hospice as soon as possible and be there to support our patients and their families, whenever they need us.”
Winchester Hospice will be run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and the Andover War Memorial Hospital.
To donate to the nurses’ fundraising page visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wrehospicehikers or email Winchester.Hospice@hhft.nhs.uk to find out how to get involved with a fundraising idea of your own.