IT was created with the intention of being a place which was part of its community with an open door policy, however the pandemic meant that a Glasgow hospice was forced to send volunteers home and close their doors.
Now after for the first time in 18 months, the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Bellahouston Park will be open to the public from Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Glasgow’s Hospice had to close its public café and hospice shop and ask members of the public to stay away. Only small numbers of visitors to inpatients have been allowed into the hospice over the majority of the pandemic.
The hospice’s Living Well Service patients who live in their own homes and attend the hospice on a day-basis started coming back into the hospice in June 2021. Up until this point, these services were delivered virtually, by telephone and home visits if the patient required it.
Following the relaxation of restrictions at the beginning of August, the hospice is now ready and eager to welcome back former and new café customers, along with anyone else who wishes to visit the hospice.
Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, said: “We are delighted that this day has finally arrived. Throughout the pandemic, we were determined to keep our patients as protected as we possibly could. By closing the hospice to the general public, we reduced the risk of the virus being brought into the hospice.
“We also had a duty to protect our volunteers, so we had to ask them to stay at home too. Most of our volunteers have returned and are currently going through refresher training before our doors open on 16 August. We have greatly missed the buzz of people being in the hospice. I regularly meet people and have a chat in the café or in the main reception area and we have all missed this interaction with our supporters.
“Our café and shop also generate income for the hospice as all profits come directly to help fund care at the hospice. So, people can enjoy their morning scone or lunchtime toastie knowing they are helping to support people with life limiting illnesses.”
Hospice café and reception volunteer, Peter Samson from the West End of Glasgow has been with the hospice for three years. He said: “It is amazing to be back, I actually felt quite emotional on my first shift and the welcome I got from everyone at the hospice was just so heart-warming. We’ve had a two-week spell of learning how everything works again and are now looking forward to the public coming back in.
“During lockdown, I missed my hospice shifts so much, it was part of my routine. I missed the social interaction, but I made a real effort to stay in touch with as many friends as possible. Mostly I have really missed hugs.”
Kate Howie, also from the West End has been volunteering with the hospice for six years. Lockdown has been difficult for Kate with three teenagers to look after and home-schooling requirements. But Kate is delighted to be back for the hospice reopening. She commented: “I didn’t realise how much I’d miss the hospice; everyone is just so lovely, and it is such a privilege to be part of it.”
Head Chef Stevie Murray, along with his catering team, is also looking forward to offering culinary classics to café customers.
Mr Murray said: “We have missed preparing our dishes for the public. During the pandemic we’ve been kept busy preparing first-class food choices for our patients and the staff who were working during it. However, we are so happy to be able to offer our menu out to the public once again. We definitely have regulars who enjoy coming to the park for a walk and pop into the hospice for some much-loved dishes and I am looking forward to catching up with them all soon.”
The café will be open 8am until 7pm each day and with all profits going to the hospice, purchases will help generate income for the hospice.