History of Rossendale Hospice

“A Hospice in a community of the size of Rossendale is unusual.The services we deliver here are normally not available except in much larger conurbations.We have been able to maintain and develop the service due to the support of local people”. Founder Dorothy Mitchell, 2001

‘A hospice for Rossendale’ appeal was launched in 1987. Dorothy Mitchell started the appeal following the emergency hospital admission of her friend’s husband (who had not been ill).The following day the surgeon told his wife there was nothing more he could do and to expect him to die within a year.

Dorothy read everything written about hospices and palliative care and she visited hospices and cancer centres keen to learn as much as she could. A 'Concept Document' was developed, setting out what needed to be done, why, and how much it would cost. Soroptimists of Haslingden took ownership and within a very short time were in touch with the other Rossendale organisations; Rotary, Round Table, Social Services and GPs, to name but a few.A steering committee which combined the necessary skills and expertise was set up to ‘get the show on the road’.

Prior to the appeal launch, volunteer groups were set up in Haslingden, Rawtenstall and Bacup to fundraise. Home care began with volunteer nurses who were keen to sit with patients and provide much needed and appreciated respite for carers.

A Hospice in Rossendale did not have the finances to provide an inpatient unit with beds – the cost alone would not have been sustainable or a wise use of funds with East Lancashire and Pendleside Hospices both ten miles away. At this time, a Day Care service was provided from 'The Bungalow', Cribden House at Rossendale General Hospital.

In 1997 a grant was received to provide complementary therapies and Rossendale Hospice established Holistic Resources Ltd. Holistic therapies helped to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy.

The services included Day Therapy, an Early Diagnosed day – a drop in and advice service, a hypno-chemo programme for patients and carers, bereavement counselling for adults and children and a transport and escort service for patients.The services were also offered to people with non-cancer life-limiting conditions.

In 2001 Holistic Resources Ltd was awarded National Lottery funding which gave the opportunity to expand complementary therapies to aromatherapy, reiki and reflexology, which were all found to be therapeutic, cost effective and well received by patients. Holistic Resources became a social enterprise, with the profits made supporting the Hospice staffing costs. The success led us to taking the projects East Lancashire wide and then nationally.

In the same year, Rossendale Hospice developed ‘Hospice at Home’ services as a pilot scheme, just one of our services which continues today.

The Hospices’ first Chief Executive was appointed in 2002. The former Hospital site was sold to developers and in 2010 Rossendale Hospice moved premises to the new Primary Health Care Centre on Bacup Road in Rawtenstall.

Rossendale Hospice continues to innovate and develop new services to meet the needs of our patients and their families and carers.