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Project information

Growing Family Support at Garden House Hospice

We want to grow our family support to include therapeutic counselling groups and courses delivered at the hospice and in the community. Each group will focus on a different theme (e.g. pre-bereavement) and will be planned based on need, ensuring we can provide the right support at the right time.

12 months once funding has been received

Charity information: Garden House Hospice Care

Garden House Hospice Care logo
  • Need


    Death and bereavement have a huge impact on wellbeing, causing emotional distress; anxiety; relationship issues; low mood; and physical pain. Last year we saw an 18% increase in patients accessing our services. This has increased demand for counselling, and our Family Support team anticipate reaching 500 adults during 2018. We currently offer one-to-one counselling and need to expand our work to meet demand and offer a wider range of emotional support to patients and their families.


    Therapeutic groups will reach more people and will address the varying needs of patients and carers, focussing on specific themes such as pre-bereavement, dementia carers or parents who face losing a partner. Groups will offer the opportunity for peer support as for some, listening to the issues other people face helps them feel their emotions are validated. We will also offer other forms of therapy e.g body image workshops to help patients cope with physical changes caused by illness.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop a programme of counselling & therapy groups responding to beneficiary need


    » Family Support team to identify which groups are needed based on beneficiary need
    » Recruit/contract and brief self-employed qualified facilitators to set up groups
    » Secure community-based venues and purchase equipment for groups e.g. journals and art therapy equipment
    » Refurbish hospice Quiet Room to host groups e.g. whiteboard to share feelings, create resources area including faith and art books

    What success will look like

    Success will be developing a programme including a minimum of 20 themed groups throughout one year (each group supporting average of 6 people)

    Aim 2

    Reach a minimum of 110 beneficiaries through group sessions


    » Offer groups when relevant to patients, family members and carers at counselling assessment
    » Develop and distribute leaflets to promote groups
    » Advertise through relevant forums e.g. hospice newsletter, meetings with professionals etc

    What success will look like

    Success will be receiving referrals for a minimum of 4 beneficiaries (average 6, maximum 8) per course/group

    Aim 3

    Facilitators to work with Family Support Manager to set up & run groups


    » Organise existing qualified volunteer Counsellors to support Facilitator during groups
    » Run a minimum of 20 different groups throughout 12 months, with each group running for a different number of sessions based on need
    » GHHC Counsellors to shadow/receive training from facilitators in specialist areas e.g. scrapbooking so we can continue these groups beyond pilot
    » Facilitator to monitor and evaluate each group at end of sessions and feed back to Family Support Manager

    What success will look like

    Success will be running a minimum of 20 groups reaching a minimum of 110 people throughout the year and upskilling hospice staff to run groups following pilot

    Aim 4

    Establish a programme of therapeutic groups for GHHC following pilot


    » Review group evaluations
    » Liaise with beneficiaries to see if they have continued relationships with group peers
    » Use evaluation of pilot and beneficiary feedback to develop an ongoing programme of counselling and therapy group
    » GHHC Counsellors will lead groups using knowledge and training gained through this pilot

    What success will look like

    Success will be using project evaluation to develop an ongoing programme of therapy groups, and using success of pilot to secure funding for this

  • Impact


    •Establishing a groups programme going forward and upskilling existing GHHC staff to run them

    •Preventing long-term mental health issues

    •Improving overall wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety and improving mood

    •Reducing isolation as groups will provide socialisation for those that wish to form peer groups/friendships with others facing similar issues

    To measure success clients will complete questionnaires measuring improvement in wellbeing. We will collate case studies/quotes.


    As this will be a one year pilot project to trial and establish which types of groups will work best for the people we support, recruiting a member of staff would be difficult as we would be offering a one-year contract. To mitigate this risk we will recruit self-employed facilitators to run the groups. Using casual staff with different specialities means we can respond to need. Eg if we receive referrals for a large number of carers we can run a group for carers.


    We will include an update on the project within our quarterly Open House newsletter as well as via social media and email updates where relevant. Full, tailored reports will be sent when requested e.g. to those providing initial pledges.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £17,500 Facilitator fees To cover preparation, set up, running & evaluation of groups
      £3,500 Project management Line management/recruitment/supervision of facilitators and overseeing of project
      £500 Refreshments Tea, coffee & biscuits for groups
      £2,000 Equipment e.g. art therapy items, journals, clipboards, flipchart
      £1,900 Quiet Room refurbishment including whiteboard wall to share feelings, resources area eg faith/poetry books, additional chairs
      £600 Publicity and printing Leaflets to promote groups, printing evaluation sheets
      £3,000 Venue hire Venue hire to deliver groups within the community
      £1,000 Travel expenses For facilitators/staff/volunteers travelling to and from community venues for course sessions
  • Background


    Groups will run throughout North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and the surrounding villages. While some groups will be held at our hospice in Letchworth, others will be held within the community e.g. Stevenage or Royston, making groups more accessible to more people.
    Almost 20% of the North Herts population are aged 65+. As our ageing population continues to grow we know demand for our services will increase further still. Groups will help us meet an increased need for family support.


    Minimum of 120 individuals within our local community, including:
    • Patients needing support coming to terms with their prognosis
    • Patients facing issues with changing body image
    • Carers facing isolation or loneliness
    • Family members seeking peer support
    • Parents facing the loss of a partner
    • Carers of dementia patients

    All beneficiaries will have been assessed by our Family Support team before being referred to a group to ensure group support is best suited to their needs and wishes.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only hospice providing specialist palliative care to adults in North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and the surrounding villages.
    We already provide 1-2-1 counselling to patients/family members. Our Family Support staff and volunteers are qualified counsellors.
    In a recent survey, 29 of 30 counselling clients experienced some improvement, with 50% moving from moderate or severe distress to a healthy of mildly distressed state. We also saw a 25% average improvement in ability to sleep.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jo Ansell, Family Support Manager

    Jo will project manage this work, supporting and managing the facilitators running groups

    Volunteer Counsellors

    Our qualified volunteer Counsellors will support group sessions