An artist's rendering of the White rock South Surrey Hospice Society's new supportive care facility.

Home for hospice approved

Society aims to raise another $1.1 million for new facility

Surrey council has given final approval to the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society to build a new supportive care facility near Peace Arch Hospital.

Executive director Beth Kish said a sod-turning event is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 8 at 15435 16A Ave. – the site of the society’s planned two-storey, 4,830-sq.-ft. facility.

“It’s going to open up all kinds of opportunities for all our programs and services to grow for all of the people in the community,” Kish told Peace Arch News Wednesday.

The new building will house the society’s administrative offices, volunteer training program and grief support programs and services. It will be located within walking distance from a planned residential care facility, that will dedicate 15 of 200 beds for hospice – replacing seven existing beds at the hospital.

Kish called the separation of the hospice society’s building and the hospice beds “strategic.”

“A lot of people who come for grief support, when they’ve lost somebody in the hospice residence, they don’t want to go back to that same building for support. They don’t want to walk through those doors again. Even though they had wonderful care, they’d rather go to a separate location.”

Having the society located away from hospice beds is also ideal for its work in providing grief and bereavement support for the entire community at no cost. One such service is ensuring no one dies alone. If a family needs a break from caring for someone in the community who is dying, for example, society volunteers are available around the clock to help.

Inside the hospital at the hospice residence, volunteers offer counselling and support to families and patients from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. They also provide tea service, relaxation therapy and pet visitation, while supporting end-of-life wishes – such as a recent request to renew wedding vows.

That work will continue once the new hospice beds are built.

Meanwhile the hospice society’s own new building, budgeted at $2.1 million, will allow for larger gatherings and children’s grief camps that its current location – a converted house on Russell Avenue – can’t accommodate. It will also give the society more room for  a training program that supports volunteers, who currently number 367.

Surrey council approved the project on July 25.

So far the society has raised $1 million toward the cost of its new home. Its Building a Home for Hope campaign aims to complete the funding puzzle.

As part of its fundraising, naming rights are being offered for some new rooms. The society is also selling pebbles for its planned Journey Wall. For a donation of $100 or $250 a stone can be purchased to help form the Journey Wall inside the new centre. All who contribute to the wall will be entered into a draw for airline tickets.

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