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Oakhaven Hospice celebrates five years of its ‘amazing place’, the Coates Centre

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The mayor cuts the celebration cake.
The mayor cuts the celebration cake.

STAFF and volunteers from the Coates Centre at Oakhaven Hospice opened the doors to guests in celebration of its fifth anniversary.

The facility supports people in the New Forest, Waterside and Totton areas whose lives have been impacted by the illness of a loved one, or are suffering with a long-term condition themselves.

Visitors were able to call in for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake as well as the chance to join in with a peer support group, take part in a wellbeing or social activity, or just simply sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

A harmonised rendition of happy birthday was sung to guests by Drastic Measures, a local barbershop quartet (pictured below) who entertained visitors throughout the event, and a garden bench specially made by members of the Fawley Men’s Shed who have used the facility was unveiled (below right).

Oakhaven CEO Andrew Ryde said: “Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the Coates Centre’s fifth birthday. It’s amazing to think that it has been five years since we were sat here the first time when it opened and I have to say in the five years that it’s been running we have had some amazing stories.

“The centre has been incredibly well received by the community and all in all it has been a great success for those who didn’t have anywhere to go in the past to get support.

“The atmosphere here is just amazing.”

Coates Centre user Shelia said: “After my husband passed away here at Oakhaven with wonderful care and attention in June 2016, I wondered what my future would be without him. It was not easy but it would have been far worse without the love and care I have found through the centre.

“I first did the coping with grief course and then progressed onto the afternoon teas and I found I was not alone. I have since learnt new skills like art, yoga, singing, mindfulness and first aid to name a few.

“The biggest benefit for me is all the new friends I have made through the Coates Centre. Friendships that will be lifelong. I know that I can always call in for a chat and a coffee, so thank you to the centre for being there for me.”

Phil, another beneficiary of the service, added: “I came to the Coates Centre after my wife died at Oakhaven in February and it has really been the making of me, it is an amazing place. It really got me going and the staff are volunteers and are such lovely people. I take part in loads of classes and have joined a cookery class to improve my skills.”

An anniversary cake was cut by Lymington and Pennington mayor Cllr Anne Corbridge, who recently presented the charity with a cheque for £10,000 which will be used to extend the hospice’s car park very soon. The grant comes from a total of £100,000 which has been allocated from the monies received from the Buckland Farm development scheme.

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