Interview with Nikki Wilson, IPU Nurse Manager at St Wilfrid's Hospice Eastbourne

We are delighted to be donating the proceeds from our current auction (14 September - 3 October) to St Wilfrid's Hospice Eastbourne. We sat down with Nikki Wilson, IPU Nurse Manager for the charity to learn more about St Wilfrid's Hospice and the incredible work they do. 

Can you tell me about St Wilfrid’s Hospice and its mission? What is your role and history with the charity?

St Wilfrid’s Hospice is a charity that looks after and supports people with life-limiting illnesses in Eastbourne, Seaford, Uckfield and the surrounding areas.

A lot of people might think of a hospice as a sad place that people come to to die, but in reality it is a bright vibrant place that people come to for a variety of reasons. Some might stay on the Inpatient Unit for help managing particular symptoms before returning home, others will come in for just a few hours at a time to work with our Physios or access a support group. We also have a wonderful café that is open to the public, so many people just come in for a cuppa. Of course, we are also here at the end of a person’s life and we strive to ensure they can live well right up until the end. We support families throughout this journey, and with bereavement support.

Something that may surprise people is that a lot of our care happens outside of the hospice. Our expert team care for and support people in their own homes and in care homes across our area, enabling people to stay at home when they might otherwise have been in hospital.

I am the Nurse Manager for our Inpatient Unit, so I lead the team who look after patients who are staying at the hospice. I’ve been at St Wilfrid’s for 9 years permanently, but worked here in a bank capacity since 2003. As well as the fabulous team work at the hospice, I particularly love having the opportunity to get to know families and patients, and knowing that we are making that little bit of difference at the end of a person’s life.

Many of the artists in the auction are local to the area – can you tell us about the local roots of St Wilfrid’s Hospice?

St Wilfrid’s Hospice has been at the heart of the local community for more that 40 years. It started in 1978 with a pain clinic set up at Eastbourne District General Hospital by Consultant Anaesthetist Joan Hester, and developed quickly into what we recognise today as a hospice.

Our original building was on Mill Gap Road in Eastbourne, a beautiful converted Victorian House that offered a Day Hospice and Inpatient Unit. The building, and team, were extended over the years until it became clear that we had outgrown that site and moved to our purpose built hospice on Broadwater Way in Eastbourne in 2013.

The hospice doesn’t solely operate in Eastbourne, however. We look after people in their own homes and in care homes from Pevensey through to Seaford and up to Uckfield and Heathfield. We also have a network of shops that raise funds for the hospice and sit in the hearts of local communities across our catchment area.

Where will the donations of this auction go to?

We are hoping that this auction will raise over £40,000 which would be enough to pay for a nurse for a year.

Fundraising is vitally important to St Wilfrid’s as only 30% of the cost of providing our care is covered by government. The rest comes from fundraising and gifts in wills so we are incredibly grateful to everyone who supports us.

How can people get involved in the charity?

There are lots of ways to get involved: donating, fundraising, taking part in events, leaving a gift in your will, playing the Local Hospice Lottery, volunteering, or donating to our shopping in our shops. Anyone interested in finding out more can do so at our website.

What are your favourite pieces in the auction?

There is so much to choose from in the auction that it is hard to pick favourites, but Darren Slater’s ‘A Hidden View’ resonated me when I first saw it. It gives me a sense of peace and tranquillity.

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