How The Nightingale Came To Be
You might know what The Nightingale does but you might not know how the charity came to be.
Bishop John Arnold (back then Father John) noticed that people in his congregation who had cancer were not getting the support they needed. In an effort to determine if there was a need for further cancer care he approached Andrew Bone, who had experience in social care, to find out if his original perception was right and if there was interest from the wider community. After canvassing opinions, Andrew approached District Nurse Manager Teresa Aylott and then local GP Dr Pat O’Mahony. And our founding trustees were recruited.
The original hope for The Nightingale was to provide in-patient hospice services with an idea to end up with a bedded hospice within 10-12 years.
However, during the late 90s and early 00s, cancer treatment was going through a sea change. Improvements and advances meant that patients no longer needed to stay in hospital while undergoing their treatment. It soon became obvious that a different kind of support would be needed in the community. While treatments, long term remissions and cures improved, there was still inadequate available for people with cancer. That’s when the charity’s priorities shifted.
The founding trustees were aware that there were lasting physical and psychological effects on the quality of life, not only for cancer sufferers and survivors but their families, friends and colleagues. Cancer wasn’t over when the treatment was over.
Patients and people around them needed help to cope with and come to terms with their changed life.
Within two years of being founded, The Nightingale was providing emotional, physical and practical support to those in the community who needed it most.
Over the next 15 years we worked from various sites sharing facilities with other charities. Whilst we continued to grow we recognised that we would need our own, bigger space to provide an increased range of services. 2017 was a major step forward in what we could provide for our clients. We moved from having shared rooms a couple of days a week, to using two treatment rooms, two counselling rooms and a multifunction room in our own centre on a daily basis.
In the first full year after relocating, we saw a 25% increase in new clients! What we could deliver grew immensely and proved that there was an ever growing need for a place like The Nightingale.
Today, The Nightingale is a huge asset to the community and far exceeds original expectations. In addition to the services we provide, our clients see our centre as a welcoming place where they can pop in, meet up with each other and have a cup of coffee.
Our founding trustees are still on our board 20 years later, now alongside nine others on our Board of Trustees, delivering the mission they set out with all those years ago; to help people live through cancer.