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Crafting at Local Hospice

On Tuesday 3rd July, pupils from Southend High School for Girls joined patients at their local hospice for a craft morning. The Year 7 and 9 pupils joined the Day Hospice at Fair Havens in Westcliff for their Creative Therapy session, to learn more about the recently launched day services at Fair Havens in response to the growing needs of those they care for and what hospice care is.  During their visit the pupils helped patients create origami art and foam pinwheels as part of the school’s E-Day activities. E-Day is an international Mathematical celebration on the 2nd July.

Mrs Imbush, Head of Maths at SHSG explained, “The number ‘E’ is incredibly important across maths, science and economics. This year is the first time the first 4 digits of the number correlates completely with the date – 2/7/18; so we decided to launch a mathematical art project to celebrate. We assigned a colour to each of the digits 0 to nine and then invited groups from all across our community to make a section of our representation of ‘E’ - to make a pinwheel of a piece of origami in the assigned colour” The chain was started off by former pupil and Countdown Mathematician Rachel Riley and is being displayed at the Beecroft Gallery in Southend over the summer, alongside other artwork. There will also be a trail of pinwheels in gardens, including at Fair Havens, through Southend finishing at the Beecroft Gallery.

Twelve year old Sophie M decided she wanted to involve and create artwork with a local charity; she said “My Mum works at Havens Hospices and so I knew a little bit about what the charity did and I thought it would be something a bit different if I got them involved with the project. I never expected to be invited in with my schoolmates to create the origami art with the patients, but I’m really glad I got to have that experience and to learn about what adult hospice care really is. It’s such a happy place; I had a lot of fun spending time with the staff and patients.”

Leyla I also 12 years old, spent the morning helping Day Hospice patient Roxy create a pinwheel, she said “It was really nice spending time with Roxy and learning about her experience of Fair Havens and the care they’d given her – she was so nice, really funny and I enjoyed spending the morning with her. I liked being able to help her make her pinwheel and it was lovely seeing her and the other ladies Cheryl and Savita looking so happy as we made them.”

Year nine pupil Lizzie B, 14, helped her Nan look after her Granddad before he died. He had Parkinson’s and a heart problem and her grandparents were looking into respite care before he died. Lizzie now wants to pursue a career in medicine and regularly volunteers at a care home; so she wanted to join the year seven pupils, to learn about what respite care is and how hospice care differs to other approaches. She spent the morning helping Savita.

She explained “I really enjoyed getting to know Savita, she was very chatty and told me all about her family. I hadn’t really thought about how craft work could be used as a therapy, but it seemed to give Savita a break from her condition and allowed her to talk, laugh and relax.  You have this idea in your head that a hospice is going to be for dying, but what I learnt about the Day Hospice is that it is a place that offers care and therapies which help keep  patients living well and independently with their illness for longer.  The staff don’t look at patients like Savita, as a condition, they look at them as a whole person – by looking after the mental and emotional well-being of patients as well as their medical and physical needs the Havens staff are helping them live their lives to the fullest. I suppose that’s why their motto is ‘Making every day count’”.

Fair Havens is part of Havens Hospices which incorporates Little Havens Hospice for children and The J’s Hospice for young people. Together they provide respite, symptom management and end of life care to those with life-limiting conditions. For more information on the care provided by Havens Hospices visit