If you were to stand in our beautiful gardens and look east you’d be able to make out the Edinburgh shoreline starting to bend round towards Musselburgh, and out towards North Berwick. Indeed, not far from the Hospice grounds you can often see the top of North Berwick Law rising to a point on the horizon.
It’s a stunning view – but it’s much more than that. It’s an outlook that encapsulates the reach of our care and support across the east of the city and out towards East Lothian. As a well-loved Edinburgh institution we are often associated with the city centre, and with the Trinity and Granton part of the town we have the pleasure of being based in.
However our services, and our reach, extend throughout the whole of East Lothian too. From Musselburgh to Dunbar and from Gullane to Gifford, we are the local hospice for the people of East Lothian.
And it’s not just about East Lothian residents coming into the Hospice for support. Importantly it’s about us helping individuals and families access care in their own communities, be that on the coast in Aberlady, in Tranent or Cockenzie or in the bustling Haddington, a small town now but at one point the fourth-largest in Scotland. Working closely with partners like the East Lothian community palliative care team we can help reach more people in the place of their choosing.
For some families, care at home is the right choice, whereas some would like to be cared for in the Hospice.
Of course, decisions may also change as an illness progresses and at the heart of what we do is the flexibility to accommodate the wishes of those we support.
That’s what “person centred care” really is all about – having the time, the flexibility and the commitment to support each person as an individual, in the way that best suits them.
One of our key objectives at the Hospice is to raise more awareness about the work that we do across East Lothian. We want to let those who are part of this coastal and countryside county know that we are there to support their needs, if and when the time should come.
Awareness comes in lots of shapes and sizes and over the coming months we are committed to increasing our presence across the county, to delivering more talks throughout the area, to placing more of our collecting cans and to becoming more involved in some of the wonderful events that take place there.
We already have some terrific supporters of the Hospice in East Lothian, and over the coming months we hope to build on this solid base.
One such supporter was Megan, a quite incredible young lady. Megan’s grandfather died in the Hospice and so she decided to raise money for us in his memory.
Megan, at the age of only 10 years old, decided to walk from her grandfather’s home in Prestonpans all the way to the doors of the Hospice on Boswall Road, some 11 miles!
There’s something special about this walk and about the commitment shown by Megan and her mum in support of the Hospice. It’s not just the incredible amount of money they raised, it’s that they chose to do something that really mattered to them – to connect their community with the Hospice.
They chose to remember their father and grandfather in a personal way, bringing together two locations that were important to him and to their family in the final part of his life.
Megan’s great grandmother also died at the Hospice, bringing even more significance to the walk.
Over the coming months we’ll continue to let the people of East Lothian know that we are here for them. We are not only a place they can come to for support but also a place that extends beyond the boundaries of a physical building.
East Lothian really isn’t that far away – on a clear day you can see it from the Hospice, and if you have the stamina and commitment you can even walk it.
Jackie Husband, Chief Executive of St Columba’s Hospice.