NEW initiatives at Willow Wood are ensuring the hospice is still supporting those who need them despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Their bereavement counselling is taking place by phone calls and Zoom, but their remembrance services have been suspended.
And their new memory stones have proved very popular, allowing relatives and friends to make personal tributes in the peaceful garden.
The gardens, largely maintained by volunteers, are a haven of peace and tranquillity which can be enjoyed by patients and their visitors alike.
Anthony Lord, head of income generation, explained: “So often I’ve been asked if families could buy us a bench, plant a tree or in some way have a tangible memorial for their loved one who was cared for at the hospice.
“Our gardens just don’t have the space for larger items, but we do know how important it is for families to have that focus for their memories.
“At the centre of our garden we have a willow tree fountain, with seating already in place. Pre-Covid, (and hopefully again in the future) this was a focal point, with many visitors returning for a period of quiet contemplation.
“We have come up with what we think is a wonderful way to pay tribute to a loved one – our memory stones.
“They will be beautifully engraved with a name or nickname before our gardener, Sophie Cordingley respectfully places it in the fountain where they will remain for one year.
“Once the restrictions around Covid-19 are lifted, visitors will be able to visit the garden at their leisure and see their memory stone as often as they wish.
“Once the initial year comes to a close, families can repeat the tribute or take it home as a keepsake.”
If you would like to make a tribute to a loved one in this way, visit www.willowwood.info to order online or email email@example.com or ring 0161 330 7788 to find out more.
Willow Wood is also holding its first ever Wills Month in April and is encouraging people to Gift in Wills, leaving a legacy for the hospice.
If you have been putting off making a will, now is the time so you can make sure you can care for your family when you are no longer with them.
During Willow Wood’s Wills Month, a number of local solicitors will not be charging a fee for a simple will, but asking instead for a donation to the hospice.
By making a will you ensure that when you die your estate is shared according to your wishes, and there is no extra stress for your loved ones at such a difficult and emotional time.
Details of local solicitors who are freely giving their time to the hospice can be found online
You do not have to have had any prior relationship with Willow Wood to take advantage of their Wills Month, and you are under no obligation to leave them a gift in your Will.
But many people do – the care of one in five of the hospice’s patients and their families is made possible by such gifts.
By leaving just one per cent of your estate, you ensure that your family and friends are cared for first as they receive 99 per cent.
But your gift to Willow Wood will mean the hospice can help local people when they most need love, care and support and, when the time comes, be cared for with dignity and respect.
To find out more information about Willow Wood’s care, and to read how we have helped local people, go online www.willowwood.info