Royal visit for St Mary’s Living Well Centre

HRH The Earl of Wessex visited staff, volunteers and community groups on Thursday 13th June at St Mary’s Living Well Centre, Barrow-in-Furness to officially open the vital centre.

St Mary’s Living Well Centre provides a space for the hospice and other local organisations to provide a range of free activities and services, enabling more people to enjoy a better quality of life and stay independent for longer. The new bespoke facility has been designed to meet growing community needs and is now officially declared open by HRH The Earl of Wessex.

St Mary’s Chief Executive, Val Stangoe said: “It is an honour to have a member of The Royal Family open the St Mary’s Living Well Centre. This building has been created as a joyful, friendly space for people living with all kinds of illnesses. We want to raise its profile of so everyone in Furness knows they can come here to join in activity. Who better to help us raise that profile than The Earl of Wessex?”

The Earl of Wessex had a guided tour of the centre and saw the types of activities and services that the Living Well building has the flexibility to accommodate within the Barrow community. This visit showcased: living well exercises, art and complementary therapy, family and bereavement support, community neighbours team and the benefits these activities bring to attendees. We were delighted to be joined by partners in the centre: the Stroke Association Group, Neuro café and the Carry on Breathing Group.

Lynsey Lawson, St Mary’s Family Support Service Lead: “At St Mary’s we recognise that grief is an inevitable part of everyday life, and can be really isolating. Barrow is at the heart of our community and we want to reach as many people as possible with Family Support. The Living Well Centre creates another safe space for us to achieve this.”

In addition to the services, The Earl of Wessex met a few of our dedicated volunteers who enable St Mary’s and local organisations to deliver the quality of services to meet growing needs and reinforce a sense of community.

Karen Higgs, St Mary’s Volunteer Support and Community Neighbour: “The visit is a boost for our community, staff and volunteers who give up so much of their time.  Our Community Neighbours team of volunteers support people’s social and emotional needs with a friendly face and a helping hand, they were proud to attend the opening and share their fantastic work.”

The royal visit is perfect timing for our hospice as celebrate our 30th anniversary and look ahead to the next 30 years. As a charity the hospice needs to raise over £3.2m per year to keep its doors open and free services available across the South Lakes.

The opening event would not be complete without thanking the Sir John Fisher Foundation who made the building possible by funding the refurbishment. And special thanks to Ørsted for their support in funding delivery of our Living Well Programme and Retreat Days.